Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ode to the Sickidz

I've told this story a few times, but I think it bears repeating. I first got in to The Cramps shortly after the Stay Sick album came out. Also right around that time I developed this irrational desire for music of all kinds, but mostly centered around punk and rockabilly.
So at this point I had bought every Cramps record I could find and the fever had me pretty good. I was going to the record store once or twice a week looking for stuff.  One day in the armpit of NH (Nashua), I came across this fabulous looking CD called NO REASON TO COMPLAIN by a band called The Sickidz. I LOVED the artwork. It was in black and white and featured these cool bug eyed creature/kids with rotted teeth, etc.
I flipped the CD over (sorry no LP to be found, and at this time I hadn't really gotten in to vinyl that much), and noticed that track one said; introduction Lux Interior, Hot Club 1979. Ok, this told me two things. It was endorsed by Lux and it was from the late 70's. It had to be good or at least interesting!
I forked over my 15 bux or whatever it was and eagerly went to my car so I could listen to the CD.  Sure enough, here was Lux's voice intro-ing the band. You can hear the screaming of the audience. Lux admonishes them not to be offended by the naked girl down on the floor at the front of the stage. And introduces the band by calling them the completely IN-rageous SICKIDZ!
So at this point I'm all excited and can't wait to hear the 2nd track! It's called ON A JONES. The music starts. How do I put this? On a Jones starts with one bass note repeated again and again. the drums follow at the same rate....the guitar comes in....what in thee hell am I listening to? I'm not sure what to make of it. The song is like 5 minutes long and is pretty jarring to say the least. Oh, and it's about Jonestown!  Why would you start an album this way? I think to myself.
The 3rd track plays. Its called FRENZY. It hits hard and it's primitive and I fucking love it. Track after track of great tunes. Songs about the living dead, rhythm gurls, Neanderthal men, and the greatest cover of teen angel that you'll ever fucking hear.
I get home and I listen to it again immediately. ON A JONES is even growing on me. Before you know it, it's one of the tunes I put on EVERY compilation tape I make for people I know. 10 years later it's one of the songs that led me to creating my own band. We ended 99 percent of our shows with that song.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Also during this time, something called Napster was invented. I'm not going to get into the file sharing debate, but this also led me to meeting and finding out about tons of bands large and small. One day, I "meet" a fellow download-er who says something along the lines of; "hey, you have some sickidz stuff! The drummer is a friend of mine!" We get to know each other (he's a Cramps nut too) and "talk" all the time.
Before you know it, I'm "meeting" said drummer (now guitarist) of the Sickidz. I find out they still play shows on occasion! At one point, he mentions that they are playing a show in New Jersey with THE MAD DADDYS (another band I had discovered around this time because of the Cramps connection)!
Holy shit, I think, this is worth a trip to Jersey. We pack up the car (my future wife, and a friend who would become the future bass player in my band) and hit the fuckin' road. The trip takes something like 7 or 8 hours because of a snow/ice storm. We stay at some cheap hotel and notice something called a "Fudruckers" right next door.
So, like most people staying in north jersey, we plan to leave almost immediately and hit NYC the next day and then head back to Jersey for the show that night.  We spend the day in NYC record shopping, etc. At one point we see that ? and the Mysterians are playing that night too. So we get back to our hotel, and I call the club to see what time the show starts.
Me: Hey, what time does the show start tonight?
Them: It's not...
Me: WHAT?!
Them: Yeah, one of the members of the Mad Daddys broke his hand or something. The show's canceled!
Ugh! Man we were all so pumped for this show. Do we take the train back to NYC to see Question Mark (which would be kind of a pain in the ass)? Nope we head to Fudruckers for dinner and leave the next day. The trip would become known as the time we risked life and limb to drive 7 hours in a snow storm to eat at a Fudruckers in North Jersey.....
Now. Since this trip I have seen the Sickidz a handful of times (once even opening for The Cramps), and even seen their new incarnation, Dixy Blood a few times too. Some members have seen my band and actually enjoyed our stuff too. I have come to know the members of the band and we have all become friends. A friendship I treasure.
2 years ago I floated the idea of Lux Lives to them and how cool it would be to do a tribute to Lux in Philadelphia.  They totally got behind the idea and the show was a great success. This year, they have already played the 2nd Philly Lux Lives and are doing something I thought they'd never do; play a show in New York City for the Lux Lives at Otto's Shrunken Head. This is their first time in NYC as Dixy Blood and the first time they've played NYC in many years. Their set is a GREAT tribute to The Cramps that you will not want to miss!
IN-rageous IN-deed!
The Sickidz along with Twin Guns will be Playing at the Midnite Monster Hop at Otto's Shrunken Head on Saturday February 28th.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dixy Blood Lux Lives Live at Kung Fu Necktie

It's hard to believe it's been 4 months since the Lux Lives East Coast round of shows happened. In case you missed the Facebook postings we raised almost 4,000 dollars for Best Friends Animal Society in Lux's name. If you go to my Facebook page you can read my list of thank you's and other reminiscences about the events.

One of the more disappointing things that emerged from the night in Philadelphia was that 2 of the recordings made of Dixy Blood's set did NOT sound that good. At least not good enough to share with the general public. One recording sounded too loud and blown out. Another recording had vocals that were way too low.  Sort of the risk you take with modern audience recordings.

Thankfully, the sound guy that night also recorded the show and it came out pretty brilliant. This is the way it sounded to me that night. It was a great tribute to Lux and The Cramps, and now thanks to Dixy Blood, they've allowed me to share it with you.

One of the great things about this recording is that this is Dixy Blood doing (mostly) Cramps songs. Not Dixy Blood trying to sound like the Cramps. Sometimes when bands pay tribute to other bands they try and copy them instead of just being themselves. A few of the highlights for me is their mind blowing rendition of Can't Hardly Stand It and their haunting version of Lonesome Town.  Oh, and Goo Goo Muck sung by Betty Lou was pretty outstanding too!

When the idea of this show was hatched one drunken evening in the outskirts of Philadelphia at the guitar players house, I had no idea how it was going to turn out. We had to secure a club, get DJ equipment, find other cool bands (hopefully the recording of Full Blown Cherry's set will manifest itself at some point!), etc.  But it all went like a dream. Kung Fu Necktie was a great place for the show and the people that came out were incredible.

Before proceeding any further, here is a little background on Dixy Blood.   Dixy Blood was formed after long running Philly band the Sickidz "retired." The Sickidz formed back in the late 70's and played many shows with The Cramps back in the day. They even had a record produced by Lux and Ivy (HIGHLY recommended if you've never heard it). Dixy Blood formed shortly after the Sickidz called it a day, fulfilling life long dream of singer Mick Cancer to form a country band. But a country band like only former members of the Sickidz could do.  I saw their 2nd or 3rd show I think? And they blew me away. It was great. Currently they are working on polishing off a full length album and recording some additional new material.

I met original drummer, and later guitarist Rich Lustre back in the Napster days of trading music and it's developed in to a friendship I treasure. I want to thank him and the other members of the band for being behind this thing 110 the whole way....

Enjoy the show!


Dixy Blood is:

Vocals and Mischief: Mick "Clarence" Cancer

Guitar and Attitude: Rich Lustre

Bass and Vocals: Betty Lou Gee

Drums and Vocals: MoeJo

Sickidz Discography
Rhythm Girl    BTCP Records 1981
I Could Go to Hell for You    Big Beat 1984
On a Jones/Dogfood    Psycho Acoustic Sounds 1989
No Reason to Complain    Apex 1990
Now and Then    2003
Teenage Obsessions 1978-84 Recordings     Rave Up Records 2008

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lux and Ivy's Favorites Volume 5 (remaster)

Here is the "remaster" of Lux and Ivy's Favorites Volume 5!

As near as I can tell, I originally made this volume back in 2004. Or at least that's what the date stamps say on the mp3's. Also, in 2004 the Cramps released their How to Make a Monster double CD set, and some of the songs mentioned in the liner notes make an appearance here.

 A few major things were fixed; firstly the version of Heartaches by Ted Weems and his Orchestra has been fixed. The song that was on the original mix was not the correct version (or the correct band!) that appeared on the Purple Knif Show.  Also fixed is the Jack Eely version of Louie Louie. Listen to your old version and cringe at the quality of that mp3. This one is taken right from my copy of the 45. Back in 2004, I didn't have a copy...

A note regarding Oh! Susanna. As far as I can tell that track hasn't been issued on CD, So I made an mp3 from my own copy of the 45 which sounds a tad better than the original mp3. But seriously, how many of you actually listen to that song when it pops up on your ipod?

Thanks go out to Haunted George for the image for this volume. He found this photo on an old newspaper. I can only imagine it accompanied an article dealing with the horrors of Drag Racing, or Chickie Runs!

Also thanks to Adam Fitch for doing his usual bang up layout work!

And lastly thanks to WFMU and Debbie D. for hosting the LAIF's for easy downloading....

Volume 4 next, maybe?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Psychotic Reactions with Pip!

Here's my appearance on yesterday's Psychotic Reactions. All in all a pretty good show, I think.
Hear my take on proper pants wearing and my altercation with a vocal group dealer at Allentown...

(download quick, who knows how long it will be there with the media fire big brother programs that like to shut things down)

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Playboys - Jungle Fever

Here's a classic instrumental from 1959!  I'd heard for years this was a song The Cramps were either into, or adapted in to one of their songs. It's been on a few instrumental compilations and it sounded a bit like The Cramps, but not a hundred percent. I never put it on a Lux and Ivy's Favorites volume because I could never find anywhere they mentioned the song, etc.

So I found the actual 45 in Allentown this past year and snapped it up in a hurry.

Playing it at 33 1/3 it becomes a BIT more apparent that The Cramps used it for a song. Give a listen and see what you think.

As a side note, I've heard a few times that the labels on this particular 45 were somehow reversed and this is actually a song called Shotgun, but I don't see that since the stamp in the dead wax matches the label number of R 572.

Either way, here they both are, one at 45 and the other at 33!

Jungle_Fever at 45

Jungle_Fever at 33

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rural Blues Vol. 3 - Down Home Stomp

Back in the early 90's I was up in Portland Maine. I ended up at a local place that sold only vinyl. NO compact discs allowed! In fact, their CD section was a zip lock bag with broken CD's inside. I think its still there, but I forget the name of the place.

So I'm in there browsing around when the most fucked up distorted blues I had ever heard came chugging out of the little speaker in the store. It hit me like a freight train. What the fuck was this?! Ok, play it cool, don't go running up to the counter asking what the hell this was.  So I continue shopping around.

Then another track bursts forth and its even more mind blowing then the previous one!  Distorted vocals, killer harmonica that mimicked a train sound....jaw dropping stuff...

At the time I had been listening to a lot of what is now known as "garage punk" of that era. One band in particular that I couldn't get enough of was the Jack O' Fire. These guys were amazing.  Amazing harmonica playing lead singer, like a twisted little brother of Howlin' Wolfe himself. The rest of the band was amazing too. They covered a ton of blues tunes and also did punk rock covers but in a blues style.  Great, great fucking band.

Well the first two songs I heard that day sounded a hell of a lot like the Jack O' Fire. 

It ended up being Papa Lightfoot. 

So after a while I went up to the owner and asked what record he was playing. He showed me the record pictured above.  It was a compilation of various artists from the Imperial record label. I asked him how much it was, to which he replied; "Oh, THAT'S not for sale!"

UGH, like a punch to the gut. I wrote down the name of the record and some of the artists and after buying some stuff that WAS for sale, went on my merry way. 

That record haunted me for like 3 years. I found it at Amoeba records in SF.  It's one of my favorite records that I play all the time.  Pick up the other records in the series if you can find them. All great that I've heard anyway...