Sunday, December 27, 2009

MUSIC: Raymilland/Welders Reunion Show At Off Broadway 12/26/09

1979 was definitely in the house at Off Broadway last night as original St. Louis punk/new wave scene legends Raymilland and The Welders played live for the first time in almost 30 years. Both bands looked GREAT and sounded ferocious! It was great to see so many faces from back in those "music war" days at the show, as well as the great reaction both bands received from the younger folks in the audience. A very inspiring evening indeed. Look for upcoming reissues from both Raymilland and The Welders on BDR Records.


The Welders

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MUSIC: Ian McLagan At Euclid Records 11/24/09

Some photos from Ian McLagan's wonderful in-store performance at Euclid Records. Look for a single from the performance to be released in early 2010 as part of our Euclid Sessions 45 Series.

Mac and Bump Band bassist/guitarist Jon Notarthomas.

The guy who played on Itchycoo Park & Lazy Sunday and me. I am so not worthy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

MUSIC: Chuck Prophet Wood House Concert 11/15/09

Chuck Prophet done tore it up at Rick Wood's house last night! The best rock show I’ve seen all year. Two sets full of one jaw dropping moment after another from Chuck and his great band, the Mission Express: Stephie Finch (Vocals & Vox Continental), Kevin T. White (Bass guitar), Todd Roper (Drums & vocals), James DePrato (Guitar). And the totally out of left field icing on the cake was their most brilliant and devastating cover of Alex Chilton’s "Bangkok".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

STEVE ROCK: Warren Zevon Tribute Show & KDH X Benefit At Off Broadway 10/23/09

Steve Carosello, John Ellis, Fred Gumaer, Andy Ploof, Brian Smith, and I will be playing three Warren Zevon songs at Roy Kasten & Scott Swartz's Warren Zevon Tribute Show & KDHX Benefit at the Off Broadway, this Friday, October 23rd.

Our little one-off combo will be playing under the moniker Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School for this event and we go on at 11:45pm.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel At Off Broadway Friday 9/18

Finn's Motel returns to the wonderful smoke free Off Broadway this Friday, September 18th. We play second on the bill, around 10pm. The Incurables headline the show around 11pm, and Hook Echo plays at 9pm.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

MUSIC: Ellie Greenwich RIP

"She was the greatest melody writer of all time"---Brian Wilson.

God-like genius songwriter Ellie Greenwich has passed.

Of course there are all the legendary classics and hits she is best known for, but Ellie’s 1973 Verve solo album Let It Be Written, Let It Be Sung is an underrated and overlooked gem worth discovering. It’s one of my all-time favorite albums. I used to play several selections from it all the time on my old KWUR radio show thirty years ago, and would often close my show with the album’s wonderful waltz/lullaby remake of “Be My Baby.”

An old friend stayed with Ellie in her NYC apartment back then when her sister was getting married to a guy who was working with Ellie at the time. Aware of my total worship of all things Ellie, she brought back this stunning 8X10 glossy for me. I still get goose bumps every time I read the nice little note Ellie wrote to me on the back of the photo.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

For Mikey

Five years ago today a horrific highway accident took the lives of my dear friends Mike Shelton, Carrie Lindsey, and their daughter Emily. In a town full of rock and roll characters down through the years, Mike Shelton was one of St. Louis’ most memorable. He was an old school friend of the stars and star to his friends, and was the living embodiment of that line You wanna be there when they count up the dudes… from (his beloved) David Bowie’s "Rebel Rebel".

Mike was a really great older brother to me as well as an out of control 13 year old younger brother all at once. A sex, drugs, & rock and roll Gilbert Bates if you will, always ready to lead us gullible little Beaver Cleavers in his universe into yet another crazy adventure. An evening out with Mikey was usually filled with all sorts of mischief and narrow escapes, and certainly never dull.

Through all of our fun together I learned a whole lot about life from the guy, and there was a great big heart and a lot of soul and wisdom underneath his Jerry Lewis-like exterior. He always had my back no matter what, and no one gave more encouragement and support to me in my so called career in rock than Mike. Whether in person or on the phone, at some point in every conversation I ever had with Mikey, he would ask, “When you playin’ again?” Before I was ever in a band and still unsure of ever being in one, Mikey kept pushing me to go for it. Like a scene from a cheesy movie, one day Mikey said to me, “Kid, you HAVE to do this. You got what it takes. Trust me, I know about these things…” And that was all the confidence I ever needed. Next thing you know I was in my first band, and I’ve never looked back…

So tonight I play another rock show, and like every rock show I’ve played with all of my various combos over the last five years, Mikey will be there with me once again---sitting on my shoulder and yelling in my ear: “TURN YOUR DAMN AMP UP, LAMEASS! PLAY FASTER! LOUDER! JUMP! MOOOOOOVE! C’MON, MOTHERFUCKER! GIMME SOMETHIN’ TO LOOK AT---THIS IS ROCK AND ROLL!"

Hang on to yourself Mikey, I promise to bring it hard tonight.

(left to right) Tony Fafoglia, Mike Shelton, and me rocking at Off Broadway, Jerry Durwachter Xmas Show, 1988.

The evening was supposed to be a celebration of the holiday season, but sure enough we wound up with some typical Shelton chaos. Seems a very drunk member of the audience didn’t approve of some of my & Mike’s stage antics (don't ask), so after the show he was in my face in the middle of the dance floor all hot and ready to kick my ass. As I tried to talk the guy down, Shelton of course egged the guy on, doing all he could to get a fracas going. Things started to get a little scary, so Mike and I resorted to a move that had saved us from harm a couple times prior in our travels, the old act-crazier-than-the-guy-who’s-about-to-kick-your-ass move. We escaped yet again with no blood shed, and Shelton wound up getting a hug from the guy’s girlfriend. So very Mikey...

(Snapshot from a video by Chris Ballew, original photo by Carrie Lindsey)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel At Off Broadway Saturday 8/22

Finn's Motel plays smoke free Off Broadway this Saturday, August 22nd. We play second on the bill, around 10pm. Matador recording artist Sally Crewe And The Sudden Moves from Austin, Texas are headlining the show, and our old pal Tommy Keene is playing bass with Sally on her current tour. How cool is that?

The 75s from St. Louis open the show at 9pm.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

MUSIC: Willy DeVille RIP

Another shining testament to the diverse brilliance and originality of the late '70's CBGB's scene has passed. Mink DeVille's Jack Nitzche produced Cabretta is a timeless masterpiece and one of the greatest debut albums in the history of rock. Cabretta’s pleasures are eternal, and thirty years on I still listen to it all the time. When it comes to this particular stylistic turf, I think Cabretta is a better album than Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run.

By sheer dumb and typical ‘70’s rock booking luck, the original Mink DeVille played the old American Theater in St. Louis in 1977. If I remember correctly I believe the headliner was the dreaded Mahogany Rush. Can’t say for sure as we didn’t stick around after Mink DeVille’s short, maybe not even a half hour set. And they were absolutely tremendous as they ripped through all of those classics from Cabretta like "Venus Of Avenue D," "Little Girl," "Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl," "Gunslinger," and show stopper, "She's So Tough."

Willy of course was such a riveting and brilliant singer, with an absolutely commanding stage presence. I had seen Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band in 1975, so that was my immediate easy comparison. But Mink DeVille’s version of that template had the aura of something far darker and grittier underneath its musical beauty, stemming from a world so completely alien to my then 21 year old white suburban ass sitting there in the Mid-West. I'm sure if you had met Clarence Clemons or Miami Steve back then they’d probably share a beer and let you hang, but it was easy to see that after a show these Mink DeVille guys were headed straight to neighborhoods I had no business ever setting foot in. They looked so elegantly cool and exotic, yet simultaneously prepared for any sort of trouble and rough business that came their way. More like a gang than a rock band. These were guys who probably carried guns and knives in their pockets along with their guitar picks. And drugs. Very hard drugs.

And in that brief and intense half hour onstage in front of an audience that didn’t give two shits about them, Mink DeVille blew away the dozen or so of us who knew Cabretta and were there just to see them. I’ll never forget how great they were. Those guys earned every illicit pleasure I hope they went out and found after their show that night.

Willy DeVille, you were so very much the real deal.

Friday, July 03, 2009

MUSIC/POLITICS: The Man In The Mirror

I totally loved the brilliant records the Jackson 5 made. I liked a big chunk of Michael Jackson's solo records. But when I heard he had died I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. I still don't. And now I know why:

Clusterfuck Nation
Comment on Current Events by the Author of "The Long Emergency"

"The Man in the Mirror"

By James Howard Kunstler
June 29, 2009

As America entered the horse latitudes of summer, befogged in a muffling stillness on deceptively calm seas, we were distracted for a while by visions of a pale death angel moonwalking across the deck of collective consciousness. Eerie parallels resound between the sordid demise of pop singer Michael Jackson and the fate of the nation.

Like the United States, Michael Jackson was spectacularly bankrupt, reportedly in the range of $800-million, which is rather a lot for an individual. Had he lived on a few more years, he might have qualified for his own TARP program -- another piece of expensive dead-weight down in the economy's bilges -- since it is our established policy now to throw immense sums of so-called "money" at gigantic failing enterprises (while millions of ordinary citizens wash overboard, without so much as a life-preserver). Anyway, Michael Jackson was on the receiving end of one huge bank loan after another long after his pattern of profligacy was set and obvious. They threw money at him for the same reason that the federal government throws money at entities like CitiBank: the desperate hope that some miracle will allow debt servicing to resume. Michael could burn through $50-million in half a year. It didn't seem to affect his credibility as a borrower. When his heart stopped last week, he was living in a Hollywood mansion that rented for several hundred thousand dollars a month. You wonder how the landlord cashed those checks.

Like the USA, Michael Jackson was a has-been. He hadn't recorded a song worth listening to in over two decades. He had done almost nothing but spin his wheels, hop around the globe from one place to another at enormous expense, and make himself available for award ceremonies to stoke his ego (and give advertisers a reason to promote some televised award show). He existed strictly on image, an anorectic figure nourished by moonbeams of attention, famous for saying that he loved his worshippers when the truth was he merely sucked the life out of them. In his last years, he even looked a bit like Nosferatu, the personification of the un-dead, and his fascination with ghouls was the basis for his biggest hit way back in the last century. A zombie

nation deserves a zombie mascot.

He was a poseur, vamping in weird military outfits as though he were a five-star general in the Honduran army, or a character from a melodrama by the reprobate Jean Genet. He once materialized during halftime at the Superbowl in a shower of sparks, thrilling the multitudes while grabbing and stroking his sex organs, as though that was a heroic activity -- and indeed the nation seemed to emulate him as its culture became dedicated more and more to acting out masturbation fantasies. America was a fat man jerking off on the sofa watching a vampire of no particular sex vogue deliriously on the boob tube.

More than once the authorities tried to pin charges of child molestation on him for suspicious activities at his boy-trap, Neverland Ranch, with its carnival rides, private zoo, video game galleries, and inexhaustible supplies of sugary treats. The first time he settled with the alleged victim's family for $22-million. They just walked away with the loot and happily shut up. The second time, he moonwalked out of a court-of-law while weeks later jurors mysteriously went on TV to say, well, they did kind of think after-the-fact that he really did those things he was accused of, but, you know.... The defendant himself behaved as though his trial were a TV celebrity challenge show on another planet, arriving on one occasion twenty minutes late in pajamas with some lame excuse about a backache. He spent the last years of his life wandering a few steps ahead of his creditors, gulling concert promoters into "comeback" schemes (with walking-around money up front), and with three bought-and-paid-for children, obviously not his own, for consolation.

When he dropped dead last week, the nation's morbidly maudlin response suggested a cover story for the relief of being rid of him and all the embarrassment he provoked. One CNN reporter called him a genius the equal of Mozart. That's a little like calling Rachel Maddow the reincarnation of Eleanor Roosevelt. A nation addicted to lying to itself tells itself fairy tales instead of facing a pathology report. Yet, like Michael Jackson, the undertone of horror story still pulses darkly in the background. The little boy who grew up to be the simulation of a girl was really a werewolf. The nation that defeated manifest evil in World War Two woke up one day years later to find itself stripped of its manhood, mentally enslaved to cheap entertainments, and hostage to its own grandiosity. Maybe in grieving so exorbitantly over this freak America is grieving for itself. All the loose talk about "love" from the media and the fans gives off the odor of self-love. America is "the man in the mirror," the gigantic, floundering Narcissus, sailing into the stormy seas of history.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

POLITICS: Senator Al Franken

Congratulations Senator Al Franken! The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party just got one vote stronger. Somewhere, Paul Wellstone is smiling...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gary Rogers RIP

Just heard the news of the passing of my old friend Gary Rogers. I had a lot of fun with Gary back in the '80's when I lived in Champaign and Gary did a lot of live sound mixing for my old bands Turning Curious and Pop The Balloon. Gary was a great guy, a great soundman, and always a lot of laughs. Another rock and roll "lifer" has left us way too soon...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jay Bennett RIP

I’ll always remember Jay Bennett as the very quiet kid who hung around though rarely said a word to us at my old record store The Pop Shop in Champaign, circa 1982-1983. I would also see him at a lot of the shows my old band the B-Lovers played back then. I’d say he was more confidently quiet than shy at that time, and always seemed to have this “I know something you don’t know…” look on his face. I think that “something” was he knew how massively talented he was and somehow the whole world was also going to find that out someday.

I remember walking into a party on Halloween in 1983 and spotting two guys in a corner playing acoustic guitars. One of the guys was Jay, and the two were playing and singing Bruce Springsteen’s “Johnny 99.” Later on at the party Jay and I were finally introduced to each other. I told him, “I didn’t know you played guitar,” to which his total deadpan reply was, “Yeah, I play a little…” And thus my first exposure to that infamously quirky sense of humor that was essential Jay Bennett. Conversation with Jay was never dull and always interesting, no matter the subject…

Regardless of his (well documented) ups & downs, the Jay Bennett I knew was a big ‘ol sweetheart. And I’ll say it again: a massive musical talent on so many levels.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel Off Broadway Photos 4/25/09

Finn's Motel
(left to right) Steve Scariano, Joe Thebeau, Patrick Hawley, Robert Griffin

Finn's Motel photos by Toby Weiss.

Tommy Keene

(left to right) Steve Gerlach, Mike Leach, Tommy Keene, Brad Quinn

Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

STEVE ROCK: Finn's Motel At Off Broadway Saturday April 25th

Finn's Motel plays this Saturday night, April 25th at the wonderfully smoke free Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave. St. Louis MO, 63118. We are honored to be sharing the bandstand with Tommy Keene---legendary master of the powerful pop and one of the classiest guys in all of rock. It’s been several years since Tommy’s played St. Louis, so you won’t want to miss him. He always delivers the total rock goods. Opening the show will be Tommy’s pals from Austin, TX, Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves, who are definitely worth arriving early for and checking out.

This is our first live show in a while, as we’ve been hard at work fine tuning Joe’s great new songs as we prepare to embark on recording FMot album #2. We’ll be giving several of these new songs their first test spins in public, so we hope you can make it down to the show.

Tommy Keene

Finn’s Motel

Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


None of my bands played South By Southwest this year, but Euclid Records was asked to participate in the Austin Record Convention (which was part of SXSW 2009), so I headed down to Austin with Euclid owner Joe Schwab to help man the store's booth. Though we didn't have wristbands, we still managed to see a lot of great music and had a great time as well as a successful record show.

We hit town on Wednesday and headed straight to the Pop Culture Press party in time for a fantastic set by Future Clouds And Radar. They were augmented by a guest trumpet player and were very well received by the large crowd. This was the fourth great Future Clouds show Joe and I have seen this year, and they are clearly one of the best live bands in the world today.

Next up was the reformed That Petrol Emotion. I’ve always loved the band and their sharp Undertones meets Captain Beefheart pop, but never had the chance to see them live back in their day, so I was pretty excited. They did not disappoint. Opening with their anthem “Hey Venus,” the band took off like a comet and never came back down to earth. Led by super energetic front man Steve Mack, their propulsive set was the best thing I saw all week at SXSW. I hope TPE are back to stay for a while, cause the world needs rock bands this great.

Later that night we caught longtime personal faves Outrageous Cherry.

Thursday was a big day because I finally got to see Cyril Jordan’s great band Magic Christian. I've been on their bandwagon from day one, and since they never play the Midwest, my only chances to see them live have been at SXSW. But the past couple of times I’ve been down there I had schedule conflicts at the times they were playing. But not this year! I got to see them two gorgeous afternoons in a row on the cool little patio of the Gingerman pub, and they are the consummate kick ass live band! Day one saw former Blondie guitarist Frank Infante sitting in on Shake Some Action, and day two found Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream standing on my immediate left---an obvious Magic Christian fan who rocked out the entire show. And frontman Paul Kopf stuck his mic in Joe’s face and had him sing a line of Shake Some Action! Something Joe will no doubt tell his grandchildren someday…

It’s really hard for me to put into words just how much Cyril’s music has meant to me over the years and the profound effect it has had on my life in so many ways. Needless to say it was an honor and pleasure to finally meet him. We got to hang for a bit on both days and he is beyond cool. I got to tell Cyril how much the Shake Some Action album forever changed my life in 1976 and how I would have never had the courage to try to actually play in a band if it had not been for that record. He seemed genuinely touched. We also chatted about our mutual love for The Easybeats. It’s so great when your idols turn out to be cool people. And Mr. Kopf is very cool as well and quite the rock and roll character! So now my next Magic Christian mission is to see them tear it up in a small club, as they do in these great live videos here and here.

Happy hour at Lucky’s with the greatest happy hour band in the world, Ian McLagan & The Bump Band.

We spent Friday afternoon at the Little Steven’s Underground Garage party at Antones, which was major bang for the buck as Steven presided as master of ceremonies over an impressive variety of acts presented old school “cavalcade of stars” style.

Little Steven

The legendary Augie Meyers, sitting in with the Krayolas.

Great young garage/r&b band from Denmark, The Breakers.

The one and only Roy Head, bringing down the house with "Treat Her Right."

Modesty Blaze of Oslo's Cocktail Slippers. Can she pass for Susannah Hoffs' daughter or what?

The Living Things

Eternal gods of the garage, the mighty Chesterfield Kings.

The big "secret" Metallica show at Stubb's. Don't ask...

Would have loved to have seen The Sonics, Primal Scream, The Dogs, The High Dials, The New York Dolls, Jimmy Webb & Sons, Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves, and so many more, but that's the way the SXSW cookie crumbles. Saturday and Sunday were record show days, and as stated earlier, we had an outstanding show. On Sunday, just as the show was getting ready to close down, we were paid a visit by blissed out rock legend Sky Saxon of Seeds fame.

Joe and Sky.

Sky and me.