I’m seeing reports that New York punk impresario Marty Thau has died at 75. Official reports are far and few between, however, in this electronic age, in which almost anyone who’s ever striven to be anyone merits a flurry of “he/she was a great (wo)man…” tributes. I cannot sincerely attest to the greatness of Marty Thau, but he seemed like an interesting person around whom cool artists gathered. He seemed at least as interesting as that spoken-word 1-hit wonder poet Maggie Estes, who sadly passed away at the age of 50 and who had a fling with MTV in the early ’90s, so let’s give it up for Marty Thau.
So, I’ve never been the hugest Ramones fan. I found their brand of 3-chord rock to be kind of timid. Well, I picked up their greatest hits CD at a flea market Saturday, thinking “OK, now I’ll have a chance to hear their best, hand-picked by folks who know much better than me.”
Well, I’m hear to report that after the first 3 songs that covered most of their biggies, ie, “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Judy’s a Punk,” “Beat on the Brat,” the CD–with another 20 songs and bonus–simply sounded like it was on skip. EVERY song was EXACTLY the same–wow, they go G to A to E. Then G to E to A. Or, wow, the more adventurous E to A to F. All played with the SAME lackluster drum sound, the same doo-woopy vocal hooks, and the same guitar wash. It really started to give me a headache. I was almost embarrassed for them.
I know people say that the Ramones are the god fathers of punk–and that the Pistols would be nothing without them–but damnit, the Pistols, the Undertones and every Minor Threat wannabe band has done more with the formula than these so-called pioneers.
So, are they the most overrated band in the history of music? Can’t believe they played at the same time as Television, Richard Hell, etc… and never picked up on the spikey, loudness of it all.
“Mr. Mod, you got a problem with my hat?” (Photo by Ragephoto.)
A few weeks ago we received an e-mail from Andy Shernoff, founding member of The Dictators and a longtime rock ‘n roll agent provacateur. It turns out Andy was an occasional reader of Rock Town Hall and wanted to let us know he was coming to Philadelphia with his rock memoir/solo show, When Giants Walked the Earth: A Musical Memoir. You can read our little write up of that show and follow some links to the man’s very cool career here. Let’s just say that the The Back Office staff and I were thrilled and honored to learn that a guy who’d had his hands in so much of our shared musical heritage knew what went on in these hallowed halls. With the palms of our hands red from high-fiving, we asked Andy if he’d answer a few questions for us. Andy glady agreed before realizing what kind of piercing, nerdy questions he’d be getting from the likes of us. Nevertheless, the man took a deep breath and gave it his rock-nerdsage all!
Among his other activities Andy plays with The Master Plan, a party-rock supergroup that includes Keith Streng and Bill Milhizer from The Fleshtones and Paul Johnson from Waxing Poetics – and that features contributions from Hoodoo Gurus’ Dave Faulkner, who recently represented Australia in the Rock Town Hall World Cup of Rock ‘n Roll.
But enough of my yapping, let’s get on with our chat with Andy Shernoff…after the jump.Continue reading »