Thursday, July 9, 2009

Classic Rock Vidoes

The Cars - Just What I Needed

Bird & Animal Names In Rock And Roll History- part twenty

Written By Robert Benson

Let’s continue our articles series about “bird” and “animal” group names and artists in rock and roll history, last week we explored some famous ‘dog’ names, this time let’s look at some ‘cat’ and ‘kitten’ names:

A band that was well-known to Smashing Pumpkins fans, the Oklahoma-based Chainsaw Kittens (they opened for the Pumpkins and many other popular acts) built a small following and loyal fan base throughout the 90’s by mixing eclectic pop, glam punk, new wave and bits of British invasion into their repertoire.

Formed in 1989 and fronted by Tyson Meade (former lead singer of the band Defenstration) and signing on with Mammoth records, the band’s debut release “Violent Religion” did not garner much attention. However, after opening up for many of alternative rock’s most popular bands, the Butch Vig-produced album “Flipped Out In Signapore” in 1992, heightened the group’s profile and fans soon began to take notice. Their energetic mix of glam-damaged energy, theatrical extremity and punk rock was never more evident on their follow up EP in 1993 “Angel On The Range;” which introduced a stable rhythm section for the band, bassist Johnson and drummer Eric Harmon.

The group released “Pop Heiress” in 1994, but the hoped for success didn’t materialize, however the band carried on. A self-titled release in 1996 (also known as Oklahoma Speedway) garnered little attention. The group took an extended break while its members pursued other musical endevours and personal projects before returning in 2000 with the release “The All-America.”

Throughout the group’s history, their lyrical content tackled an array of topics including religion, the Stonewall riots, Fellini, Oklahoma, the Menendez brothers and even Oscar Wilde. The band went through many personnel changes but were always maintained by the presence of singer and songwriter Meade. Since the band split up (they were active from 1989-2000) they have gained more fans and have gained attention on such sources as Allmusic as one of the best groups of their era.

Popular among Northern Soul fans, the Chicago soul vocal group the Kittens are more popular now than when they were together and recording. Arranger/producer Johnny Pate (who also worked with the Impressions) signed the group to ABC-Paramount in 1964 and the trio (Thelma Mack, Bernice Wills and Laurel Ross) released several singles including “I Got To Know Him,” “Lookie Lookie,” (among others) and they recorded two singles with Chess in 1968, “Ain’t No More Room” and “Hey Operator.” (there are several other bands that used this moniker, look for future results in upcoming articles!)

But despite the talents of Pate and Probably one of the most talented girl groups of the 60’s the Kittens’ career never materialized (they sold very few records outside of Chicago) and they are now part of soul music trivia.

The Ohio Players had a ‘pet project’ in the form of another Chicago-based female vocal group called Kitty & the Haywoods. Starting as jingle singers and back up singers for Curtis Mayfield on his “Never Say You Can’t Survive” LP, the girls (Kitty Haywood, her sisters Vivian and Mary Ann and Vivian’s daughter Cynthia) released their debut album in 1977 called “Love Shack.” The title track was their only chart single (it made the lower side of the R&B charts) and in 1981, they released a second LP called “Excuse me, I’ve Got A Life To Catch,” which failed, spelling the end of their career.

A Boston-based alternative band, Scruffy The Cat, built a huge following on the east coast (and of course the Boston area) by blending roots rock with a bit of country punk. Led by Charlie Chesterman (vocals, guitar), Stephen Fredette (guitar), Mac Paul Stanfield (bass), Randall Lee Gibson IV (drums), Burns Stanfield (piano, organ), and multi-instrumentalist Stona Fitch, the band never really hit the mainstream arena, but nonetheless found themselves on the college charts in the late 80s; as the band’s raw, back –to-basics rock arrangements were a fresh sound for campus DJs and college radio.

In 1987, the band’s debut album, “Tiny Days,” produced a great toe-tapping number called “My bay She’s Allright” and the accompanying videos was a staple on MTV’s 120 Minutes weekly show (however Fitch left the band). In 1989, the band cut “Moons Of Jupiter” and was the band’s attempt at a crossover hit, but it was rejected by the music critics. Despite generating a good deal of national interest (there was even an article in Newsweek), Scruffy never really appealed to a national audience and the group split up shortly thereafter.

Cat Power is the stage name of American singer/songwriter Charlyn "Chan" Marshall. Known for her strange and somewhat iratic style, personal struggles and improvisational concerts early in her career, she has used these experiences to become a well-respected musician in the indie folk rock scene.

After dropping out of high school, she started performing under the name Cat Power while in Atlanta, backed by musicians Glen Thrasher, Marc Moore, and others. In 1992, she moved to New york and was introduced to New York's 'free-jazz' and experimental music scene. After opening for Liz Phair she was encouraged to record her music by Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and Tim Foljahn (Two Dollar Guitar) and they played on her first two LP's 1995's "Dear Sir" and 1996's "Myra Lee." She signed with Matador records in 1996 and recorded her third LP, "What Would the Community Think," which spawned a single and music video, "Nude as the News".

However, in late 1996 after a three-month tour to promote the album, she disappeared from the music scene, opting to work as a baby sitter in Portland, Oregon and then relocating to a farmhouse in South Carolina; with a plan to permanently retire from the music business. But during a restless night, she wrote several new songs, the bulk of them making up the LP "Moon Pix." The release was very well recieved by critics and music lovers alike.

After tiring of her own music, she remained busy on a number of projects and by the start of the decade, Marshall's live performances had become erratic and unpredictable. Marshall later admitted that she had a drinking problem, telling HARP magazine in 2006, "I didn't know I was messed up."

In 2003 she resumed releasing more original material with "You Are Free," which featured guest musicians Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, and the Dirty Three's Warren Ellis.

Her breakthrough release, "The Greatest" was released in 2006 and found Marshall returning to Memphis, pursuing the sound of the 70s, famed for its sensuous feel and beguiling rhythms. She employed Al Green’s guitarist and songwriting partner Mabon "Teenie" Hodges to play guitar on the whole album (Teenie co-wrote "Love and Happiness" and "Take Me to the River," among other soul classics). With Hodges onboard came his bandmate (and brother) Leroy "Flick" Hodges, who played on half of the album (Memphis A-team bassist Dave Smith supplements). Anchoring the band is Steve Potts, whose reputation on drums was solidified when the surviving members of Booker T. and the MG’s asked him to replace their late drummer, Al Jackson. Other top Memphis musicians guest on keyboards, horns and strings.

But following its release, Marshall had cancel previously arranged shows in North America and Europe as she was struggling with a relationship and had other personal issues. Ultimately, she utilized the self-imposed hiatus to recover from what she described as a "psychotic break" that had left her feeling suicidal and was brought on by mental exhaustion and alcohol abuse.

At the end of 2006, she formed a new band with whom she toured and recorded with throughout 2007. Her new band, The Dirty Delta Blues Band features Judah Bauer (from Blues Explosion), Gregg Foreman (The Delta 72), Erik Paparazzi (Lizard Music), and Jim White (from Dirty Three). The band recorded an album of covers called “Jukebox, “which was released on January 22, 2008.

Recently, Marshall's performance style has been said to be much more enthusiastic and professional. In fact, in a recent magazine article Marshall states that her newfound musical collaborators and sobriety are largely responsible for her increased confidence onstage. Finally harnessing her inner demons and personal strife, Cat Power is free to open up musically and we can now hear the great musical sounds that she hears.

Chainsaw Kittens Tidbits:

The Chainsaw Kittens are featured on the soundtrack for the 2007 horror movie, Bug, from Lions Gate. The band also reunited for a performance at the Norman Music Festival in Norman, Oklahoma on April 26, 2008.

Tyson Meade currently resides in Shanghai, People's Republic of China, where he teaches English.

In recent U.S. live appearances, Meade has fronted a new group called, Halston, which features members of the Starlight Mints. Meade has also been backed by a New York indie group named Arbor Day. Meade's setlists have drawn from every stage of his more than 20-year career in music.

Scruffy The Cat Tidbits:

Scruffy's first appearance on record was the tune "The Oldest Fire in the World" on the Throbbing Lobster Let's Breed compilation, which was released in 1984.

Scruffy's swan-song, the 16-track Moons of Jupiter was produced by the legendary Jim Dickinson.

Chesterman formed the short-lived Harmony Rockets after the breakup and after the Harmony Rockets disbanded, Chesterman went solo, releasing a series of independent albums including 1994's From the Book of Flames that toned down his punk edges for more of a country approach.

Cat Power Tidbits:

She often performs reworked covers at her live shows, of songs old and new such as those by Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Gnarls Barkley, Will Oldham, White Stripes, and Jessie Mae Hemphill.

In early 2008, she collaborated with Beck and producer Danger Mouse on the album Modern Guilt. She contributed backing vocals to two tracks, "Orphans" and "Walls.” The album was released in July of that year.

Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers included a song titled "Cat Power" on his debut solo release Killers and Stars.

Cat Power's unique covers have been used in commercials first in 2005 (Cingular -"Hanging on the Telephone"), in 2006 by DeBeers ( a cover of Cat Stevens's "How Can I Tell You") and a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in 2009 for Lincoln MKS.

In 2007, she became the first female solo act to win the Shortlist Music Prize when The Greatest was voted album of the year in June.

Music News & Notes

WOE: LP Version Of 'A Spell For The Death Of Man' Now Available

Philadelphia-based black metal band WOE has announced the official release of the long-awaited LP edition of its debut full-length, "A Spell for the Death of Man". A mid-July release is planned as a collaborative effort between Creeping Vine Productions and WOE frontman Chris Grigg's own label, Subvert All Media.

Originally released on CD by American label Stronghold Records in 2008, "A Spell for the Death of Man" received universally positive reviews, and was hailed as one of the "most important black metal releases in years" by a number of publications.

With an initial pressing of 500 copies on red wax, the album features entirely new cover art courtesy of artist Justin Miller, whose artwork for the CD version has been described as "the final song" by Grigg, as well as a printed inner sleeve. The music comes straight off of a brand-new master taken from the original HD recording. Commented Grigg, "This is the album I recorded, the album I wanted to hear. This is WOE as it was intended."

WOE's "A Spell for the Death of Man" LP can be pre-ordered directly from and now. Additionally, a pay-what-you-want, DRM-free, high-res digital version of the CD master (with artwork) is available through


Killswitch at #7 on Album Charts

Killswitch Engage’s fourth album, titled "Killswitch Engage," debuted at #7 on this week’s Billboard Top 200, shifting over 58,000 copies. It is the highest charting album of the band’s career. Killswitch Engage also debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Hard Music chart. The album, which is the band’s fourth effort for Roadrunner, was produced by noted knobsman Brendan O’Brien (AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine) and co-produced by guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz.


KISS Are Alive!

Rock legends KISS has confirmed that they have finished work on their brand new studio album. A message from vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley reads as follows:

"If you been reading KISSOnline, it's no surprise to you now. We ARE done recording our new album.

"What might well be a surprise is that at the least, the album is right up there with our best. As much as we may have tried at some other times to achieve this, the chemistry, line-up or lack of total commitment from everyone might have been cause for it being impossible. Not now. Not this time.

"I know that when you hear it you will agree.

"Before we began the album, I said I was only interested in doing it if I produced and we followed set ground rules; Total commitment by everyone, pure guitar driven KISS, no outside writers, no outside players and my opinion and say would always be final.

"All said yes and I know we'd all say we've never had more fun together.

"All four of us made this our priority. Everyone was involved everyday. From the first day of writing to the last day of recording everyone was there giving 100% to making this the album we knew we had in us. I've never seen Gene more selfless (yes... Gene!), focused or harder working. His bass playing, songs and overall contribution help to make this the album you've wanted for so long. Without his spirit, this wouldn't have been possible.

"As far as Tommy's guitar playing, he took this chance at bat to consistently hit it out of the park. His playing is fiery and rooted firmly in our history, while making his own mark. Tommy's singing, writing contributions and total involvement made clear what's been missing for so long.

"In the twenty years I've known Eric, I've never seen him this relaxed or creative. His playing is the foundation of our next step forward. Relentless and full of spit and swagger. Many lead singers don't have Eric's chops or range. He's singing great on his track and all over the album.

"Wait till you hear what we've got for you.

"Do I sound proud of everyone and what we've done together? I am, and I should be.

"Eleven songs. Eleven winners.

"This IS KISS. Classic KISS.

"It's been a long time coming."


Velattore Reveals New Album, "Answers"

Chili's Velattore has revealed the tracklisting from their upcoming album, "Answers," which is as follows:

01. You'll Burn
02. Recalling The Fear
03. Turning Of Life
04. I Belive
05. Heir Of The Sorrow
06. Make It Real
07. Behind The Cross
08. We Are One
09. Erased Line
10. Fake Kings

Answers was recorded by ElĂ­as Martinez at Black Sun Studios and mixed by Jorge 'Gato' Esteban at miau studios (Los Tres, Los Prisioneros, La Ley, The Ramones).


Squash Bowels Reveals New Album Details

Polish grinders, Squash Bowels, have announced the tracklisting for their upcoming album, "Grindvirus," which is due out in September via Rotten Foetus Records. The album was recorded and mastered at Hertz studio in Bialystok, Poland in May and June 2009. The artwork was done by Lukasz Jaszak (Behemoth, Carpathian Forest, Blood Red Throne, Emperor, Gehennah).


At Vance Announces New Album Details

German metal band, AT VANCE, has announced that their new album, “Ride The Sky,” will be released on the 18th of September. The album was produced by AT VANCE mastermind Olaf Lenk. The cover art can be seen at this location.

At Vance will be touring South America in November. Currently scheduled dates are as follows:


Great cover art.


The Audreys Reissue Albums On Vinyl

South Australian folk legends The Audreys are re-releasing both of their ARIA award winning albums on limited edition vinyl. The records will be in stores this weekend, or you can order them directly from the band’s website by clicking here.

"Honestly, it's because we are all total audiophiles and we loved the thought of owning our own records on vinyl,” vocalist Taasha Coates told Undercover when asked why they’re going with vinyl.

Vinyl releases aren’t just a case of ringing up the vinyl cutters and sending off the tapes either, things have to be redesigned and remastered.

“It's been a long process and we are all getting our copies in just a couple of days, which is really exciting,” Coates explains. “Maybe we’ll just fondle the artwork and listen to a track or two.”

“All the artwork had to be re-designed to suit the new layout which was quite a lot of work,” Goodall said. “Album covers used to be a real art form but it's hard to get as worked up about a 5 inch CD case. Next record we'll release on vinyl at the same time as the CD version, assuming people dig it of course.”

Great music by a fantastic band from down under.

This Date In Music History- July 9


Ed Ames is 82.

Joe Micelli - John Fred and His Playboy Band (1946)

Debbie Sledge - Sister Sledge (1954)

Jim Kerr - Simple Minds (1959)

Marc Almond - Soft Cell (1959)

Courtney Love - Babes In Toyland, Hole (1965)

Frankie Bello - Anthrax (1965)

Tom Hingley - Inspiral Carpets (1965)

Jack White - White Stripes, Raconteurs (1975)

Isaac Brock - Modest Mouse (1975)

Dan Estrin - Hoobastank (1976)

They Are Missed:

Lee Hazlewood (July 9, 1929 – August 4, 2007) Wrote "These Boots Are Made for Walking" for Nancy Sinatra and recorded several albums.

The Main Ingredient founder Donald McPherson was born in 1941. McPherson died on July 3, 1971 from the effects of leukemia (age of 29).

Bon Scott (July 9, 1946 – February 19, 1980) AC/DC

John "Mitch" Mitchell (July 9, 1946 1 – November 12, 2008) was an English drummer, best known for his work in The Jimi Hendrix Experience.


In 1956, crooner Pat Boone released his version of "Ain't That a Shame" which became his first #1 hit.

Ageless Dick Clark made his debut as host of "Bandstand" on a Philadelphia TV station in 1956. The name was changed to "American Bandstand" when it went to ABC-TV.

Elvis' second film, Loving You, premiered in 1957.

A Minneapolis based Catholic youth magazine, "Contacts," launched a campaign in 1959 for "clean lyrics in pop songs." Songs they targeted included Elvis Presley's "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" because it promotes going steady. Oooooh.

The Troggs' "Wild Thing" entered the Top 40 in 1966, on its way to the top position.

Working at Abbey Road studios in London in 1969, the Beatles recorded “Maxwell's Silver Hammer.” John Lennon returned to the studio after recovering from a car crash in Scotland, and a bed was installed in the Abbey Road studio for Yoko, who was pregnant, and who had been more seriously injured in the car accident.

Jim Morrision was buried at P'ere Lachaise Cemetary in Paris in 1971.

In 1972, Paul McCartney and Wings kicked off a 26-date tour appearing at the French town Chateauvillon. The band travelled on a double Decker London bus with psychedelic interior. It was McCartney's first time on the road since the Beatles broke up.

Alan O'Day went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1977 with the insipid cut “Undercover Angel,” his only solo hit.

Elvis Costello quit his day job at Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics in 1977 to become a full time musician.

In 1978, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones jammed with Muddy Waters at Chicago's Quiet Knight.

In 1981, the Jacksons began a 36 city tour. The show will gross $5.5 million. They donate $100,000 to the Atlanta Children's Foundation following a show at the Omni in Atlanta. Later, Epic Records releases "The Jacksons Live."

The Police started an eight week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1983 with “Every Breath You Take” (also #1 in the UK). Sting won Song of the Year and The Police won Best Pop Performance for the song at the 1984 Grammy Awards.

Cheap Trick went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1988 with “The Flame,” the group's only US #1.

In 1990, Keith Richards right index finger becomes inflamed after a concert in Glasgow. It is diagnosed as being septic. A week of shows were postponed, amazingly the first time that the Stones missed a show due to a band member's illness or injury.

Michael Jackson was at #1 on the US album chart in 1995 with “Past, Present and Future Book 1.”

In 1995, the Grateful Dead give their last concert with leader Jerry Garcia at Chicago's Soldier Field. Jerry dies a month later while in drug rehab of a heart attack.

In 1996, for the first time, Deep Purple played "Smoke on the Water" in the Swiss city that inspired the tune. The band wrote "Smoke on the Water" after surviving a nightclub fire in Montreux.

In 1999, Mary Chapin Carpenter canceled a concert at Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts in Springfield, MO, at the last minute. She had to fly home to tend to a very sick Golden Retriever. I like it.