Cameron Carpenter – Rock’n’Roll Rewind – No More Pistols, No Ramones, We Just Want The Viletones

Cam as Chip

As children and teenagers across Canada head back to school next week, we will wrap up the series of high school rock writing I attempted. In retrospect it was pretty rough. It seems we started a secondary newsletter entitled “Grinning Nihilism” where we went underground for what looks like exactly one issue. I imagine we were denied access to the school’s mimeograph machine once an astute teacher read the obscenity laced “underground newspaper”.  As none of us wrote under our real names, detentions seemed to be avoided.

The Viletones

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With Toronto becoming one of North America’s biggest new-wave centers it is not surprising that every half-assed band in the city are ripping their shirts and saying they are Punk. But to be Punk you’ve got to be poor and desperate, not art school bourgeois snots.

Like it or not the Viletones are this countries only true punk band. Hearing them might make you envious of Helen Keller, but rich kids fuckin’ around they are not.

leckieThe “Tones” are led by the ever-visual lead vocalist Natzee Dog, alias Steve Leckie, who is Canada’s answer to Johnny Rotten. He crawls, spits, sneers, and directs beer into the crowd from both mouth and can. Motor X, Kris Hate and Freddy Pompeii fill out the Viletones, and all three are good at what they do, but no competition to the likes of Led Zeppelin. They formed in May, and to make a name for themselves they fought in the Queen and Jones area while wearing their Viletones leather jackets. Face it kids, it’s a tough world: Bing and Elvis are gone, Buffy O-ded, and John Denver smokes dope. Today a band that fights together, stays together.

The group plays mostly their own material, which is loud and fast and based on a maximum three chords. Somewhere in their set they always seem to throw in such nifty extras as Iggy’s “No Fun”, the Trogg’s “Wild Thing” and a slightly bastardized Beatles tune aptly called “Twist and Fuck”.

Club-David - Viletones

While the “Tones” played almost exclusively at David’s, or the late-great Crash n’ Burn, they’ve been down to New York twice. They played C.B.G.B.’s where Variety described them as being “impressive in their New York debut” and they just returned from Max’s Kansas City, where they opened for Wayne County (who may tour the US in January). A new LP is due soon, and articles have appeared in Melody Maker and New York Rocker. Maybe this doesn’t mean much to you Steve Miller fans, but this band is going somewhere!

The Viletones are by no means punks par excellence, but they are miles ahead of anything around here. They’re a trashy, desperate, young Rock n’ Roll band who are going somewhere. Your mother won’t like the Viletones, but then again, she had you!

See ya’ next week – The Breck Girls

I am pretty sure that “The Breck Girls” (back in the days when I actually needed shampoo) were Neil Michael Davidson and me. Neil and I worked together at Ontario Place during the summer, he as a respected Host and I was the costumed Rocky Racoon.

ontario-place-mr

Ontario Place 1977

Neil attended U of T and was the entertainment editor at the Varsity campus newspaper. The majority of the piece was mine but he came up with the “your mother who like the Viletones” line. Neil and I, along with Paul Budra, B.J. Del Conte and assorted  others, were regulars at all of Toronto’s early punk shows. Neil is now one of Canada’s most respected sports journalists penning copy for the Canadian press. As we quipped back in the day “it’s all part of growing up, and being British”. Apologies to Steve Leckie who preferred to be called “Nazi Dog”. I still have my signed paper-sleeve copy of their first single “Screamin Fist” b/w “Possibilities” and “Rebel” on Vile Records via Mega-Media Artists.

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Now the next one is for my friend Alex. We became friends a few years back over music discussions at the Balmy Beach Club.

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Although a massive Talking Heads fan he also holds a spot in his heart for Iggy Pop and especially the “Lust for Life” album (I have an autographed copy of this one as well). Our original punk rock posse were Iggy purists and cut our teeth on albums like “Raw Power”. “Lust for Life” seemed a little too slick for us and those sentiments are echoed in this high school review.

Record Review – October 11, 1977

Lust for Life

Poor Iggy Pop! He’s going through an identity crisis. In 73 with the release of Raw Power he played the punk role perfectly. His records always verged on the edge of instant insanity ready to explode at any time. Iggy now tries to reproduce that feeling on LUST FOR Life, but fails miserably. The album is good but it’s not what we wanted it to be (thanks to Ziggy). It’s overproduced and therefore misses the raw power of his Stooges efforts. The lyrics are pretty much the same but his vocals and back-up music are just too controlled, If he could get rid of his avant-garde friends he might get back to the decadent image he is striving for.

iggy-stooges-raw-power-album-cover

Yeah, I think I would change a few things in that review. Hunt (drums) and Tony (bass) Sales probably laid down one of the greatest bottom ends in rock history on that record, Carlos Alomar and Ricky Gardiner were close to perfect on guitar and David Bowie did a pretty fine job on piano and vocals. “Lust for Life” has been featured in everything from “Trainspotting” to vacation commercials and “Some Weird Sin”, “Sixteen” and “The Passenger” are all Hall of Fame Iggy tracks.

Come down and request Iggy, the Stooges, or the Viletones some Wednesday night at The Kensington Lodge.

=CC=

Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59

Cam’s column appears every Thursday

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com.

DBAWIS_ButtonCameron 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, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

One Response to “Cameron Carpenter – Rock’n’Roll Rewind – No More Pistols, No Ramones, We Just Want The Viletones”

  1. raw sexuality .. exhibitionism ..not likely to ever happen again in our age of political correctness …
    ah, but oh … how we danced … 😉

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