And If Sometimes I Can’t Seem to Talk, You’ll Know This Blackboard Lacks a Piece of Chalk

Couple things, first, before we enter the Land of the Lost Music:

The Morning News has an article that comes closest to capturing something I’ve struggled to capture for a while: our nation’s capitol, as a city, is a fucking weird place to live. I’ve seen crazy stuff living and growing up in and around NYC, but never anything as strange as the shit that went down for the few years I lived in DC. During my brief pad crashing in Georgetown? Coded messages in chalk, on a mailboxes, we later learned to be actual missives between later-covicted spy Aldrich Ames and his Russian handlers. Or in NW, seeing a famous, primary Watergate operative through a window of the Mayflower Hotel having dinner with a woman whom I knew – because I worked with her housemate – was a prostitute (albeit one wearing a Sonic Youth t-shirt when I met her. ‘Chameleon’ doesn’t begin to describe her). Not even a Connecticut town would re-elect a mayor caught on video smoking crack. Not yet, at least. My favorite weird DC moment was frequently meeting BLelvis, the Black Elvis, when he was still begging street money to sing an Elvis song – any Elvis song – while he combed his huge sideburns on a corner at 2am. Once I asaked for “Blue Hawaii,” and he sang it.

Jens Lekman, if you didn’t know already, has three free EPs up for download. The track ‘Tammy’ is a duet with El Perro Del Mar, if you were wanting to know that.

Onto Lost Oughts/Nineties/Eighties/Whenever Friday. Land of the Lost Friday, for Sleestacks. Today we start with

Big Country – 1000 Stars(Live on Radio One)

just because Big Country has spurred Futurehead arguments etc blah blah in the comments section, where we fight like family. (can we change it to enmity section)? And I post the track partially to hear that drummer Mark Brezecki was the real deal, even live.

And then there’s

Stan Ridgway and Stewart Copeland – Don’t Box Me In

just because someone will have always wanted this track from the underrated Francis Ford Coppola-directed Rumble Fish, from 1983 I’m guessing, cast including Tom Waits, thanks, along with other usual suspects of SE Hinton movies. But this is the best one, hands down, excepting some corny parts. I’m not a Police fan beyond reliving the eight grade, but Copeland was always the only good thing about them, and this collab with former Wall of Voodoo cornermouther Ridgway tells me Copeland needed to collab more with people just as interesting. Someday I’ll do a picture into Wall and some decent solo Ridgeway, too.

Lasty, and most obscurely, we dig into the darker days of local NYC MTV land and come up with the Brandos, a band known mostly for their 1987 left-field rock radio and video hit “Down in Gettysburg,” which sounded like better Creedence doing a Long Ryders cover. The debut album Honor Among Thieves, which contained said song, was mostyl too-tough-guy rock but didn’t much disappoint either; a vinyl copy is worth every dollar you spend under 5 bucks. A nice and nasty cover of the Fuzztones’ (but prob by way of the Cramps) “Strychnine,” a cover of Fogerty’s “Walk on the Water,” and some decent originals in the same vein made for a swell car ride record. But label woes ensue, legal nastiness, and they get lost. I last heard they’d weirdly found a rabid follwoing in Germany, which just does not compute, but then neither does their Hasselhoff fetish.

Former bandleader Dave Kincaid has some shit-quality mp3 samples up, with info and other stuff. Looks like they might even be touring still. And making a new album for someone I don’t know.

By 1992 the album Gunfire at Midnight surfaces, but it proves there’s not much more reason for the Brandos to exist, save two tracks and definitely the following, which belonged on Honor Among Thieves if it belongs anywhere. But I warn you: it’s kinda corny. Unless it’s about Edgar Allen Poe’s child bride, ’cause then it’s appropriately creepy.

The Brandos – Anna Lee


6 thoughts on “And If Sometimes I Can’t Seem to Talk, You’ll Know This Blackboard Lacks a Piece of Chalk

  1. “Strychnine” was probably a Sonics cover … “Some folks like-uh water/Some folks like-uh wine/But I like the taste/Of straight strychnine …”


  2. Wow – right. Can’t believe I forgot the Sonics. The Cramps have to be covering the Sonics’ version. Maybe even the Brandos; but didn’t the Fuzztones write it? or is it a Sonics orig?


  3. Sonics original, covered by many, including Thee Headcoats.“Don’t Box Me In” is one of my favorite one-off singles. By that I mean a group, duo, etc., who just releases a single and nothing more. I don’t think Copeland and Ridgway did anything else together. I want to anoint “Satisfaction” by the Peter Matz Orchestra as my favorite, but I think he must have put out an album or something with that song on it, although I’ve never seen it. Matz is the guy who did the music for the Hullabaloo Show. Cheesy ’60s crap.And the Police were OK for the first few albums. Half of Synchronicity, however, is a Sting solo album. Fuck that “Tea in the Sahara” shit. Stewart Copeland is one of the 10 best drummers of all time. The other nine:–Al Jackson Jr.–Elvin Jones–Clyde Stubblefield (the best of James Brown’s drummers but by no means the only one that might belong on this list …)–Philly Jo Jones–Keith Moon–Hal Blaine (“She could play the drums while wearin’ a dress/But they got Hal Blaine when they needed the best”)–Earl Palmer (for the “Keep-a-Knockin'” beat alone, but he did so many sessions, he can’t even remember half of them)–Max Roach–Ziggy ModelisteBonham was purposefully let off, but you could make a case for about a dozen more guys … including Ringo!


  4. Yeah, fuck Tea in the Sahara, and also because this Kid We Knew, Muchette, said it was the best Police song. I think we put him in the hospital with a blood-spurting wedgie for that comment.Lists! Lists! Drummers. Glad you put the James Brown disclaimer, cause I’m partial to Jabo …Not many I would/could add to that, although I did always enjoy Big Country’s drummer, and he did back Pete Townshend on his best solo records. Maybe we could add, but leaving them off wouldn’t bother me a bit:Clem BurkeJames LoGrant Hart (maybe. Cause he wrote songs).Dave Grohl (cause I saw him play a kit, and He’s Real)Leon Parker – so good at jazz drumming that he doesn’t play a kit anymore, and it’s still goodJanet Weiss of Sleater Kinney. She’s the whole band. I’d listen to those songs more if I could mix them down to just her. The drummer for Ride. Live, he was the truth.


  5. Yes. Those guys too. I really like Leon Parker. Also …Al Green’s drummer (Hodges … I forget which one)Roger Hawkins (Muscle Shoals, early soul Aretha …)Whoever drummed for Dyke & the BlazersI’m forgetting a few jazz dudes I really like … Grady Tate … the original Buzzcocks drummer (if he’s still with them, he lost it …)Bill WardAnd this guy who toured with the Poster Children. I’m not even sure he recorded with them, but he was incredible. They weren’t nearly as good live without him. I have no idea who it was …


  6. Are you guy’s actual drummers? Most of the guys you’ve mentioned are hacks, with the exception of Grohl.Hell, I’ve been playing 24 yrs. and kick most of those guy’s asses!What about these SCARY drummers;Terry BozzioBrainTim AlexanderTomas HaakeDale CroverDave WecklBilly CobhamBonzoDave LombardoGene KrupaChad Wackerman


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