Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock – F

“Gimme an F!” Country Joe And The Fish

Stanley Frank
I was not surprised when my pal Bob Mersereau wrote his book “The Top 100 Canadian Singles” (sister to “The Top 100 Canadian Albums”) that Stanley Frank’s  Attic Records 45 “S’cool Days” did not make the list. It was an underground hit in the U.K. but God knows I never heard it on Canadian radio.

Recorded in 1975 and released here a year later the song was the perfect cross between glam and early punk in musical style and lyrical content. He released a 12”  “Rejected” on Polydor which featured a cover of Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” in 1978 and fully played up his glam-punk image on the cover. In 1980 he signed with A&M Records and released the full length “Play It Till It Hurts”, and it was at A&M where I think Segarini and I first met him hanging around the infamous pool table at 939 Warden Avenue. Maybe when I get back around to the A’s we can discuss what might have been the greatest rock’n’roll office in Canada with a cast of promo and marketing characters that has never been equalled in this country. The album was decent but the magic that was found on “S’cool Days” was never equalled. Some snotty nosed kids should take a crack at a cover.

A Foot In Coldwater
If you only know their song “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want” because of Helix please go back to the A’s and start again. Some of my fondest early rock’n’roll memories revolve around this band. They played at Malvern Collegiate (my alma mater) at a couple of Friday night dances, were seen annually on the revolving stage at the Ontario Place Forum (now the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre) in the early seventies and were one of my first legal drinking shows at The Piccadilly Tube on Yonge Street. They also used to rehearse at a house on Fallingbrook and we would occasionally catch a muffled song or two coming from the basement.
The band was formed in 1972 and was basically a coming together of the bands Nucleus and the Lords of London. They were signed to the fledgling Daffodil Records by one of the outstanding gentlemen of the Canadian industry Frank Davies. Fuelled by the powerful voice of Alex Machin the band found early success with the Canadian classic “(Make Me Do) Anything You Want” (which ranks #44 in the Top Singles book) which became a staple as the “slow” dance at high school parties for those lucky enough to be with a girl, or an air guitar showcase for the rest of us. With the sensitive side taken care what the boys really excelled at was keyboard and organ driven hard rock which was not dissimilar to what Deep Purple were doing across the pond. I still remember a ton of their fans being patch wearing bikers and Harley stickers adorning their equipment (as well as the big ass Leslie speaker that powered the B 3).  These dudes were heavy and they looked like bikers. After two decent albums the band signed to Elektra in the U.S. and released the album “All Around Us” which was a compilation (with some re-recording) of their first two Canadian albums. With a change in ownership of the label it was David Geffen who dropped the band after he took charge of Elektra/Asylum. The band splintered and bits of their legacy carried on in the bands Private Eye, Leggat, Gus and Champion (not to be confused with Montreal’s DJ Champion). There are a couple of ‘Best Of’s” floating around and AFIC is well represented on iTunes.

Faces
We touched on them a bit last week with their contributions to Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells A Story”. They might be the greatest rock’n’roll band ever, to use golf terminology, to not win a major. If you grew up listening to The Black Crowes grab a copy of the brilliant box set “Five Guys Walk Into A Bar…” and hear where it all came from. The band formed in 1969 after Steve Marriot left the Small Faces to form Humble Pie and singer Rod Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood jumped ship from the Jeff Beck Band to join the Small Faces. With a new sound the band was christened Faces and featured drummer Kenney Jones (who later replaced Keith Moon in The Who), keyboardist Ian McLagan and bassist Ronnie Lane (later replaced by Tetsu Yamauchi). Their live shows were legendary. This was the new Brat Pack, complete will fully functional bar on the stage. They only had one major hit in North America “Stay With Me”, which may have the best guitar tones ever recorded.  Of course Rod went on to massive solo success, Jones joined The Who, Woody has now been in the Rolling Stones longer than Brian Jones and Mick Taylor combined, Laine passed away from MS in 1997, Yamauchi moved to Japan where he is a renowned jazz artist and McLagan is still one of the most sought-after session and touring players on the planet. He has done work with Joel Plaskett amongst others.  For years there has been talk of a reunion but the closest they have come was with Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) and Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) stepping in for Stewart/Laine/Yamauchi. Sorry folks that is not the Faces. C’mon lads let’s give it one more go around!

Fabulous Poodles
Some times being clever can keep you from mainstream success. The Fabulous Poodles are a classic example of that. From 1975-1980 the band released single after single of catchy Brit pub rock/new wave rock which had Kinks- klever lyrics coupled with quirky rock accentuated with violin. They sang about haircuts “Chicago Boxcar (Boston Back)”, rocking out in your bedroom “Mirror Star” , unemployment “Workshy” and almost had a hit with “Pink City Twist” which only contained the lyric “Think pink” with one “God damn think pink” thrown in during the fade. I played that one to death at Nuts’n’Bolts. Their self-titled debut album was produced by The Who’s John Entwistle and their next record “Unsuitable” was produced by Muff Winwood. The best of these two albums were combined for their North American debut “Mirror Stars”. In 1979 they released their final album “Think Pink” and toured America in support of The Ramones and Tom Petty. In 1995 they released a greatest hits CD “His Masters Choice” which is very hard to find and fetches over a hundred bucks on EBay (any offers?).

Flock Of Seagulls
It was sad to read that the Jive Record label was being put to rest last week as I worked closely with the label in its early stages when they were releasing records by Starfighters, Whodini and Flock of Seagulls. It is unfortunate that AFOS are now remembered for one single and a bad haircut as the Liverpool band were great songwriters and pretty far ahead of the curve musically. Their first singles “Telecommunication” and “(It’s Not Me) Talking” were produced by Be Bop Deluxe’s Bill Nelson and then they hit with “I Ran”. We had the band over when the single broke and I remember a couple of great afternoons hanging out with the pasty Liverpudlians poolside at the old Four Seasons on Jarvis. They were one of the early international acts to record a live MuchMusic concert, done in London, Ontario, and I remember singer Mick Score having to dub a few vocals after the shooting (due to technical problems) and him nailing them in one take. They were the first band I remember working with who had a liquor endorsement and the Pernod flowed heavily after the shows. The last time I saw Mick was at the old Spectrum on The Danforth when he was the only original member still touring under the band’s name. We shared a lot of memories that night. Here are five Flock Of Seagull songs you should hear.
1.    “Telecommunication

2.    “The More You Live The More You Love

3.    “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)

4.    “The Story of a Young Heart

5.    “Who’s That Girl (She’s Got It)

Freaks Come Out At Night
Here are some of the songs on my Halloween mix.
“I Want Candy” (Bow Wow Wow)”, “Everyday Is Halloween” (Ministry), “Dead Man’s Party” (Oingo Boingo), ‘Ghost Town” (The Specials),  “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” (David Bowie), “Is There A Ghost” (Band Of Horses), “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (Bauhaus), “Weighty Ghost” (Wintersleep), “The Freaks Come Out at Night” (Whodini), “Vampire Rock” (The Fabulous Poodles), “Nightmares” (Flock Of Seagulls)and, for Alex, ‘Fairies Wear Boots” (Black Sabbath).

We now have an email where all of us here at Don’t Believe A Word I Say can be contacted dbawis@rogers.com. Please use it to ask questions, tell us what you would like to read about, links you would like to share, and, let’s hear what you have to say.

Cameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

2 Responses to “Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock – F”

  1. great piece as usual Cam! I’m loving wintersleep lately too.

  2. So it was Geffen put the axe to Foot, huh? Why, I oughtta…..

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