TIME MACHINE TUESDAY NUMBER 3

The third of what will hopefully be many memories from a life of both rock and roll, not to mention radio, television, drinking, and debauchery. Shall we begin?

It is hard for me to believe that this Tuesday’s Time Machine only goes back to 2011 …and harder to believe that 2011 was NINE years ago!

They say that time speeds up as you get older.

Speaking with some experience with the theory, I can tell you (without fear of contradiction) that it positively launches into hyper-drive around 60 years of age and continues to speed up, so far anyway, and I am guessing that it continues accelerating past Warp 9.9, until you run out of road, track, …or time.

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Tuesdays belonged to the much missed Frank Gutch Jr. And today, Frank carries the ball to introduce this Time Machine’s subject to you like he introduced them to me.

I’ll be back with a closing statement to add to Frank’s background history of a band that should be a household name today.

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Research Turtles

I thought Research Turtles had a solid chance.  I really did.  They had everything going for them— solid music, a great attitude, a growing following.  Evidently, though, you need more than music and attitude in today’s music world.  You need a honey boo-boo (whatever that is) or need to be a two year old master of the guitar or something.  I told Jud that.  He said it was too late, that he was already past the age of incredulity.  It ain’t easy being an adult.

Jud would be Jud Norman, the man who put Research Turtles together.  He was playing in a band already, The Flamethrowers, and had this epiphany— original music = new band.  Rather than going out and starting one, he took the band he was in and split it in two.  Not physically, mind you, but musically.  One to play covers and one to play originals.  Not an easy decision, really.  He originally thought, what the hell, the band is already The Flamethrowers but then someone brought up the subject of original music.  Separate the originals from the covers, he/she said.  Jud mulled it over and saw the genius in it.  He, along with the other Flamethrowers, tossed around a few thousand ideas.  One day, while watching an old Wes Anderson movie (The Life Aquatic, I believe), it came to him.  Research Turtles!  Of course!  While the rest of the band were at first cool on the suggestion, they accepted it, if for no other reason than to be done with it.  Research Turtles were born!

They finished an album already started by Jud and originally intended to be a solo album— Time Machine.  They soon started working on an other, eventually released as Research Turtles.  And this was where I came in.

In the days when I had time, I spent an inordinate amount of it searching the Net for music.  I scoured CDBaby and MySpace and followed every hint from friends or anyone else who had a tip.  MySpace handed me the Turtles on a platter.  I sent a message to the band through that site, then another.  When I received no reply, I assumed they weren’t interested.  Then, a couple of months later, I get this email heralding the music of the band.  I sent a reply, asked why they had not responded earlier, found that Jud’s father, Rick, had not seen either of the messages.  We sent messages back and forth, then talked on the phone.  I was in.

I was completely bowled over by the self-titled album.  I listened to it incessantly, scattering other CDs to the winds.  I thought and thought and tried to come up with a way to help this band I would call The Boys From Lake Charles.  I contacted Bob Segarini and he jumped on board.  We brainstormed and helped send play copies to newspapers and radio stations.  We wrote about the band and urged others to pick up on them.  Some did.  More than we probably realized.  Soon, a little network formed, a coalition of Turtles fans who talked about the band to whomever would listen.

We tried.  We tried with that album and the two EPs which followed it up— Mankiller 1 and Mankiller 2.  We shared their videos and sent copies to writers and got a decent amount of positive reviews.  Of course, the band, after sinking a ton of money into the studios for those projects, amped up The Flamethrowers because that is where the money is.  Those kids in the South are crazy for partying and as far as I can tell, there are few bands better for partying.

While the money rolled in, the rigors of the road started taking its toll.  Jud, frustrated that the crowds reacted stronger to their covers than to his originals, began to sour on taverns and bars.  He began to tire of the unending long nights and long drives between gigs.  He already had a trunk full of songs ready to be debuted but no real audience to which they could be played.  He wrote more, doubling the anguish.

I knew something was up when the band added a keyboard player.  It was a good add, really, but Jud’s music was never keyboard-heavy.  Not long after, Jud quit the road to work in his studio while The Flamethrowers continued the bar circuit.  Something had to give and it did.

What I’m saying here is that The Flamethrowers and Research Turtles have split.  Not split up, mind you.  Just split.  After a series of negotiations (mainly because the band had incorporated and legal issues had to be addressed), a deal was made whereby Jud would take the name Research Turtles, ostensibly to be used for future recording projects and possibly— just possibly— a band to back those projects live.  The members of The Flamethrowers, a giant among party bands down South, took that name and have continued to spread the legend.

I hated to see it but all good things must come to an end.  You can’t blame Jud.  The road has killed the careers of more than one musician and, in fact, actually killed a few musicians, period.  You can’t blame the other guys.  They are sitting on a music goldmine of sorts and why should they have to starve?  No, it was the best deal they could possibly have made.  For both sides.  I just hate that there had to be sides, that’s all.

The cool thing is that while The Flamethrowers are helping keep youth off the streets, Jud has decided to continue to allow FREE downloads of all of the albums and EPs!  That’s right!  FREE!  If you have yet to hear them or have yet to purchase any of the CDs, you can download the music on the Research Turtles music page (click here)!

I love(d) these guys!  I still do.  Their successes brought on some of my best days, their lack of success some of my worst.  Occasionally, I advised them (whether they took any of it, I don’t know) but mostly I stayed off to the side and listened.  It ain’t easy being in the music business these days—- in any capacity.  Even writing about it.  – Frank Gutch Jr. DBAWIS Online Blog July 23rd 2013

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When Frank says “we tried” he’s not kidding.

Calls to Major Labels, record industry visionaries like Jac Holzman, radio stations, jocks, other media outlets, even tried unsuccessfully to get them booked for a 2 week tour of Ontario and Montreal but was met with apathy, non-interest, and a litany of reasons why people and venues couldn’t do it …a bucket of bullshit so self serving and ridiculous, that I kept thanking God I no longer had to deal with the people in the industry focused on money and little else.

It has always amazed me, how easy it is for some people to come up with reasons and excuses NOT to do/say/like/support things, yet damn near impossible to find those who at least TRY to make things happen.

Rock and Roll isn’t dead.

Rock and Roll is IGNORED.

…and it’s not just the radio and record people, the agents and venues, it is also those who say they LOVE Rock …even the close minded ones who loathe everything and anything that doesn’t have a guitar solo in it. The ones who smugly wave a hand and dismiss country, rap, dance, urban, and all the OTHER genres as shit that sucks.

That crowd who say they love rock, but only if it’s The Stones, The Beatles, Jimi, Floyd, and the other Usual Suspects, you know …ALL the Great Bands, which makes them NOT music lovers, but Nostalgic adults who miss their youth so much, they can decry everything that’s happened since they left high school or college.

I mean, how the fuck did it take 10 YEARS for Rival Sons to break through to the mainstream audience?

Rival Sons 10 Year Trip

SO MUCH great music being made. SO MANY worthy artists …and what’s on the radio and TV, and being talked about in the media, is a collection of dyed hair, meat dresses, manscaping, neon suits, vibrating asses, and choreographed lipsyncing. “Artists” who are more concerned with their Brand, Popularity, and visibility, than the music they perform, which is, for the most part, written, produced, recorded, and marketed, by a team of people who are all for hire.

And yes …of course there are exceptions to that, but they seem to be few and far between.

It’s like nobody gives a fuck anymore.

Well Frank gave a fuck.

I give a fuck.

And the gang here at DBAWIS give a fuck.

The Research Turtles …these talented, smart KIDS, are just one more band lost to apathy and avarice who deserved so much better. The list is long and heartbreaking and growing everyday.

If you love music, and you have some local heroes or new artists you really care about, spread the word. Do what you can. Fight the good fight …

…or put on Revolver or Let it Bleed or The Wall,  close your eyes, and pretend that all the great music has already been made.

It hasn’t.

Not even fucking close.

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THE RESEARCH TURTLES SELF TITLED LP

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Segarini’s regular columns appear whenever Commissioner Gordon turns on the Seg Signal when he needs something to read in the bathroom

dbawis-button7giphyBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

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