Monday, February 28, 2011

The X-Conz - Do Dead People Tan?

A1. Do Dead People Tan

A2. (She's My) Hosebag

B1. A.R.M.Y. Now

B2. Big-Mouthed Girls

X-CONZ (Miramar, FL)
Do Dead People Tan EP
Edge (ER5831), 1981

Yves Bouhadana (lead guitar), Lenny Boguslaw (bass), and Rob Elba (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) formed a band called Karnal Knowledge in their junior year at Miramar High School but soon changed their name to The X-Conz. They played some high school shows and parties with Louie Avila on drums, but his mother wouldn't let him play gigs in bars and clubs. So Glenn Wexo took his place, and although he was a year younger, his mom was OK with him playing in those venues.

While most of the clubs in South Florida catered to cover bands in the late 70s (it was the only way to make a buck as a musician at the time), a new scene was blossoming with bands playing fresh, original material. The X-Conz did try their hand at playing cover material, but quickly realized they weren't cut out for it. So they gigged as much as they could with their self penned songs, often playing 2-3 shows a month. Before long, they found themselves sharing the stage with such legendary Florida acts as The Front, Charlie Pickett, The Essentials, and others.

The band went into Cutting Edge studios in Miramar and laid down six tracks. Four of them appeared on the bands' self released EP which was pressed in an edition of 500 copies. The songs are all fun, catchy punk tunes. Though they tried pushing the record in local stores and even made special display cases, most of the copies were eventually given away.

Things started coming to an end after Yves went away to college. They replaced him with another high school friend named Joe Horvath for a few shows before calling it quits. Their final gig was at a short lived club called Blitz in Hialeah. Though the band had retired their song "Do Dead People Tan" about a year earlier, they closed their last show with it.

"Do Dead People Tan" was featured on Powerpearls Volume 4.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

True Hearts - Not Tonight EP

A1. Not Tonight

A2. All My Time

B1. Trust Me Candy

B2. God's Gift To Girls

Not Tonight EP
Counterfeit (CR-512), 1980

Terry Carolan was looking for a new project following the demise of his band, Just Boys. He had recently moved to LA to try and get the band signed, but unfortunately interest from labels never materialized and things fell apart. After auditioning and not landing gigs with such legendary acts as Badfinger, The Quick, Dwight Twilley Band, and others, he migrated to Houston at the recommendation of his longtime friend Gary Littleton.

Littleton, who was integral to the early success of Just Boys, had recently transplanted to Houston himself. After discovering a band called The Pinups who were in need of a second guitar player, he convinced Terry to move out to Texas and join the group. Terry ended up playing in three different incarnations of the The Pinups between 1979-84, but it was after his first stint that he formed his next band, The Flirt. The original line-up consisted of Terry on lead vocals/guitar, with bassist John Rempe (who played in the final days of Just Boys) and two former members of The Pinups, Manual Martinez on lead guitar and Rick Holeman on drums and backing vocals.

The band went to Tampa to record a full length album after just a few months of rehearsals. Certain tracks such as "Not Tonight," "All My Time," and "Trust Me Candy," which were all conceived during the Just Boys days were finally brought to light. In the end, the band wasn't enthused with the overall production of the sessions and opted to pick their four favorite tracks and release an EP instead of an LP.

The record was released in a limited run under the bands new moniker, True Hearts. It was put out on the Counterfeit label, which was formed in 1977 by Carolan and Littleton to release the sole Just Boys single. The EP shows the natural progression and maturity of Carolan's songwriting ability and is heavily laced in Raspberries-style power pop.

The band toured relentlessly through Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas while dealing with a constant routing cast of members. Some more recording was done, but the band eventually imploded before anything else was released.

A CD compilation was recently released on Kool Kat Music containing the collective works of the True Hearts. In addition, “All My Time” earned a notch on 2013's Texas power pop compilation album, Radio Ready that was released on Cheap Rewards Records.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Rattlecats - Back To Life

A. Back To Life

B. Run My Life

Back To Life b/w Run My Life
Scratched (#0001), 1981

Glen Worley moved to Austin in 1975 to attend grad school at UT. The following year he met Steve Lachowsky who had just enrolled in the same chemistry program. Realizing they both shared an interest in guitar, they started playing together as an acoustic act.

A year later they wanted to change gears and do something more rock n roll. So they put ads out around campus and found a freshman who could play bass named Allen Cox. They then enlisted a drummer to record some demos, but he was soon replaced by Kevin Connolly who conveniently worked in their chemistry department. They even added a fifth member named Lee Miller for a short while, but he ultimately left the band to pursue a boot making company that proved mighty lucrative in the years that followed.

By the fall of 1980, The Rattlecats played their first gig with their 4 piece static line-up of Steve, Glen, Allen and Kevin to a Rock N Roll History class at UT. They played later that evening at The Continental, a club that would become their favorite in town, though they also paid their dues at Raul's, Dukes and Club Foot.

As time went on, they started to venture outside of Austin. They built a strong fan base in Houston, and in fact, had more success there than in Austin. While they were able to pull in big crowds at smaller places like Rudyards, they were also offered gigs opening for The Bongos and The Fleshtones, where they took stage in front of 800 people at The Island.

In the summer of 1981 they recorded two songs in an 8 hour session. The single was released that fall, but the first run didn't arrive as expected. The pressing was too "hot," so the music didn't sound as intended, plus the plant misspelled the title "Run My Life" on the labels as Run My LIVE (!). Some copies were salvaged and Lisa Chanton (who ran sound for the band and later married Glen) corrected the labels by hand (see pic #4 above). When they finally got a second batch of records, they ended up running out of sleeves, so Lisa hand stamped white paper sleeves with the obligatory Rattlecats exclamation paw (both the standard and custom sleeves are pictured above).

The 500 copies of the single sold well as they started playing out of town more often. By the fall of 1982 they were booking mini tours through Tulsa, Lawrence, Kansas City, Lincoln, Omaha and even New Orleans every 5-6 weeks. This was the bands most productive and successful time. Although they were really tight, writing lots of new material, and planning on releasing an EP, Allen decided to leave the band in early 1983 to play in the Dharma Bums with high school friend Steve Spinks (who coincidentally recorded the Rattlecats 7").

A friend from Houston named George Reiff, who had played in a band called The Haskells that the Rattlecats often shared a stage with, eventually took over on bass but left soon after to join Joe "King" Carrasco's band. They then brought in Mike Jakle who had played in the Recipients and Lawnmowers. After a few months things weren't work out and he split. After that, Steve left the band as he was having difficulties playing guitar. They later realized it was due to Multiple Sclerosis. The band officially broke up in October 1983.

Glen and Kevin continued playing together for several years in a band called The Rivals. After a long hiatus, they are back together making a racket in Austin as The Soulphonics with Reid Watson (who played with them for a few years in The Rivals) on bass. Their CD The DYNAMIC SOUNDS of The Soulphonics will be officially released on March 2nd, 2011. You can keep up to speed with them on their Myspace page.

Steve left music and became a CPA, but sadly fell victim to complications from Multiple Sclerosis in 2002. Allen prefers guitar over bass these days and currently resides in LA where he teaches high school physics.

An unreleased Rattlecats song, "Those Are The Breaks" was featured on 2013's Texas power pop compilation album, Radio Ready that was released on Cheap Rewards Records


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blue Shoes - Someone Like You

A1. Someone Like You

A2. Hey

B. Better

BLUE SHOES (Phoenix, AZ)
Someone Like You EP
Living Room (37559), 1980

Husband and wife duo DR Wilke and Peggy Murphy spent their nights as a hotel lounge act in the late 70s. After hearing the The Ramones and Pezband, they decided they wanted to do original material. So they put out a "want" ad in the New Times and auditioned musicians. Once they had Troy Janzen, Richard Dye, and Jim Allen in place, the band was coined Blue Shoes.

They started gigging around the Tempe/Phoenix area regularly and ventured into Tucson, Yuma, Flagstaff, and other parts of Arizona as well. Their set consisted of originals that conveyed a positive message of love and happiness, while incorporating covers of their favorite songs by Cheap Trick, The Cars, Police, etc. The band built a strong local following and received some regional airplay. They even earned their way onto bills opening for the Ramones, Vapors and Talking Heads. Their biggest outing was at the Mesa Amphitheater where they took the stage in front of 3,000 people supporting Ian Hunter.

The band did a lot of recording and released four records in their three year tenure. The first was a mini LP called "Put On Blue Shoes," which contained six originals and a Beatles cover. On it is a ballad called "Better" that's in the vein of the Raspberries/Badfinger. The song was recently featured in an episode of the TV show Bones. "Put On Blue Shoes" saw two pressings of 500 copies each and they also shopped it around on cassette.

After the LP, they released the EP featured here. The song "Someone Like You" is the standout track. It encompasses everything perfect about the power pop genre. The production is absolutely stellar with crystal clear instrumentation, perfect guitar tones, snappy drums, and the harmonies are spot-on with a chorus that is mesmerizing. The track was included on volume six of the Teenline series. "Hey" shares the A-Side and is a worthy contender which doesn't have as instant appeal, but grows nicely with repeat listens. The B-Side contains the song "Better" that was featured on their previous release.

The follow-up to "Someone Like You" was another EP that had two re-recorded songs from their earlier LP, "Disco Bucks" and "Tonight," as well as a cover of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman." The final Blue Shoes release was a single with "Startin' The Day With A Song" and "Kerry." Both records were on the Living Room label.

Jim, who played in a punk band called The Consumers before joining Blue Shoes, left the band several months later because he was getting burned out playing bars and not feeling camaraderie with a scene heavily induced with drugs. Not being able to find a suitable replacement, the band eventually added electronic drums in his place and continued on as a four piece, changing the name to Red Alert. As things continued to dissipate, Peggy and DR found themselves playing as a duo again, this time calling themselves The Last Word.

Different forms of Blue Shoes emerged in the early 90s playing many of the old songs until Peggy and DR eventually parted ways. A CD compilation called "The Best Of Blue Shoes" was recently released on the Fervor Records label, but mysteriously leaves off "Someone Like You." A follow up CD called "Beyond The Best" is scheduled for an April 2011 release and will feature material that was never before released.

The video below was filmed in their home town in 1980.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Social Deviates - I Can't, I Gotta Go To Work

March 1980-November 1980

I Can't, I Gotta Go To Work

Why Didn't I See

Guitar/ Vocals – Tom Kornkven (Tommy Quiver)
Guitar/ Vocals – Ed Blicharz (Eddie Phlegm)
Bass/Vocals –Russ Grabczyk (Alonzo Knife)
Drums/Vocals – Terry Garguillo (Dog Dirt)

The Social Deviates only existed for a microcosm of the thriving Milwaukee music scene that boasted such talented bands as the Haskels, Shivvers, and RPM's in the late 70s through early 80s. During their eight month stint, they became somewhat of a house band at Zak's, the infamous hot spot during the burgeoning punk days. The band never got around to releasing a record, but a couple tapes of live gigs and rehearsals have survived.

The band officially came into being in March of 1980. They had been bitten by the punk bug a year prior after having discovered the likes of the Sex Pistols, Clash, Gen X, and The Ramones. Following several months of attending shows at Zak's, they informed the booker that they had a band. Having not a single rehearsal under their belt, they found themselves booked for a gig on April 10th, less than a month away!

They quickly started learning to play songs like "Complete Control," "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker," "Ready Steady Go" and a slew of others in that vein. Fully embracing the new found punk sound, they hammered out six snotty originals in the same style. Before they knew it, they had a tight, powerful sound and by the time of their first gig they had about two dozen songs in the can!

Their first show went over so well that they were offered more gigs. They played almost exclusively at Zak's and shared the stage with all the usual local suspects and occasionally had a good support slot for a touring band. They managed to help pack the club about 30 times before calling it quits in November. By that time they had lost their practice space and hadn't incorporated much new material into their live set. Feeling stagnant, the band simply fell apart.

Terry, Russ and Ed continued on simply as "The Deviates" while Tom went on to play in Fat Tuesday. They've all pretty much continued playing in various bands thereafter.

The two songs offered here were recorded at one of the last Social Deviates gigs. The two originals make no attempt to disguise their British influence and would have been the ones chosen had they made it into a studio and released a 7".