Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Night Rock: Riot

No, No...NO! For the last friggin' time, not Quiet Riot, just RIOT! Forget that other crap that those so-called classic rock stations insist on playing. That's for kids weened on MTV. This is the real thing, RIOT. I can't tell you how many times over the years when I'd mention RIOT, to have someone say, "Oh you mean Quiet Riot." No, I never meant that crummy band. And it's a shame that the two ever got confused. Okay...I'm probably being too hard on that other band, but, are you kidding me? Does anyone have to hear "Bang Your Head" ever again?

I saw RIOT play live in Lakeland, Florida somewhere around 1980 or 1981, I can't remember the exact year. They were the opening band for...that's just it. I have no idea. I can't remember who the headliner was that night. It says a lot about a band who was relatively unknown in Florida at the time, opening for another band that you can't remember at all. RIOT took the stage hungry that night and ate it alive!

This cut "Swords and Tequila" is from one of the best hard rock albums from that decade, Fire Down Under which was released in 1981 on Electra/Asylum Records. Fire Down Under was their 3rd album and one of two RIOT albums I still have on vinyl. The line-up for this album is Mark Reale / guitar, Sandy Slavin / drums, Rick Ventura / guitar, Guy Speranza / vocals, and Kip Leming on bass. "Swords and Tequila" is written by Guy Speranza and Mark Reale. Give it a shot!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ugly Things

That's right, UGLY THINGS, the magazine bringing you "wild sounds from past dimensions" a couple times a year.

This is one of my favorite magazines to pick up on the rare instances I find it. Oh sure, I should just go to their site, but I'm old enough that I don't think of that first. Instead, whenever I'm in a record shop I check the magazine/book rack to see if they carry it. It's kind of a mental test, to rate the place. It's not a pass/fail kind of thing, but a place scores points for me if I see it there in the racks. There was a cool record store in Tempe, East Side Records, that carried it. Sadly, it's no longer around. For fans of garage rock, psych or whatever, UGLY THINGS is chock full 'o articles, reviews, pics and all kinds of sources to tickle the punk inside us all. Actually, the issues are more books than magazines, at least the handful I've got from past years 2008 and 2009, which weigh in at over 200 pages each. So yeah, this is coming across as a huge plug but I like it and like seeing cool things get the support they deserve. Check it out.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Psych - Fever Tree

I've really been missing adding to the Ringer Files lately. Couple of things going on in the real world that has been taking up more time than expected. For starters, my first novel SIRENS will be published soon by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing which is really exciting. If this looks like your kind of thing then I highly recommend checking out the book and the other terrific novels and collections in their catalog. Also, I just started a new job last week, which is always a bit stressful and overwhelming. But enough of the personal plugging.

I thought I would share a pretty cool tune from Fever Tree, a band out of Houston Texas, "Where Do You Go" from their first album on Universal City Records. At first listen they sound like they would be right at home in the San Francisco scene that most fans of sixties rock are familiar with, especially with their single "San Francisco Girls." Texas produced a ton of excellent garage and psychedelic rock in the sixties, including  The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, and The Moving Sidewalks to name just two. Fever Tree had some early success with their first record and single, and went on to record a total of 5 albums. Interestingly enough, much of their material was written by their producers Scott and Vivian Holtzman, including the song "Where Do You Go?" that I'm sharing here. It's a pretty cool tune, with strains of Bolero in it and lots of fuzz guitar that I love.

For vinyl collectors, their first self-titled album is fairly easy to find. I've got their second and third albums on vinyl but I would recommend their first one over the others. But, that said, if you see any of their records, go ahead and pick one up if the price is right, I think you'll dig it. Enjoy.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Old Stuff with Yellowing Pages

A couple of weeks ago we visited the VNSA Book Sale at the fairgrounds in Phoenix. It happens once a year, in February and occurs on a Saturday and Sunday only. We always go on Sunday since A) It's way less crowded than on Saturday, and B) All books are half the sticker price. We leave with about 20 books in total. This year I picked up Anna Karenina, McTeague, Little Dorritt, and Middlemarch. That's the high-brow stuff. Currently I'm about 250 pages into Middlemarch, a book I know I was assigned to read in college, but can't remember a thing about. That same year in college I had to read Vanity Fair, Great Expectations, and Ivanhoe. And that was just one class - 19th Century British Lit. How I made it through the class, in addition to my other classes (I was an English major) I'm not sure. I also had two part-time jobs that insured I worked every night of the week until midnight or so. Sleep is over-rated in college anyway.

But enough blithering...back to the books. I also picked up four Cap Kennedy novels (the first four in the series), which is a space opera featuring Cap Kennedy - Secret Agent of the Spaceways. These were written by Edwin Charles Tubb under the byline of Gregory Kern. Whether they're good or not, I have no idea, but they looked like good pulpy fun.

September 1973, Daw SF Books, Cover art by Jack Gaughan

More Science Fiction that day was Pursuit on Ganymede by Michael D. Resnick, The Mind Behind the Eye by Joseph Green, Planet of Adventure by Jack Vance (cover below), The Beast by A.E. van Vogt, Revelation Space by Alistair Reynolds and finally, The Hit by Brian Garfield. The last one there by Garfield is a hard-boiled thriller. I've always wanted to read more of Brian Garfield's novels, so I'm looking forward to this one. I've read some of A.E. van Vogt's short stories and know that his novels were typically pieced together from his short fiction, to mixed results. Alistair Reynolds is hard Sci-Fi and they others are just sort "what-the-hell" kind of take a chance books. For the price, they're worth the gamble.

1968 Ace Books, Cover art by Jeff Jones

Now, exactly when I'll find time to read them all?....