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Category Archive: ‘Wednesday Rock Blogging’

Warren Zevon

A guy who left us too soon – from wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Zevon

By September 1975, Zevon had returned to Los Angeles, where he roomed with then-unknown Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. There, he collaborated with Jackson Browne, who in 1976 produced and promoted Zevon’s self-titled major-label debut. Contributors to this album included Nicks, Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, members of the Eagles, Carl Wilson, Linda Ronstadt, and Bonnie Raitt. Ronstadt elected to record many of his songs, including “Hasten Down the Wind”, “Carmelita”, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”, and “Mohammed’s Radio”. Zevon’s first tour in 1977 included guest appearances in the middle of Jackson Browne concerts, one of which is documented on a widely circulated bootleg recording of a Dutch radio program under the title The Offender meets the Pretender.

Though a much darker and more ironic songwriter than Browne and other leading figures of the era’s L.A.-based singer-songwriter movement, Zevon shared with his 1970s L.A. peers a grounding in earlier folk and country influences and a commitment to a writerly style of songcraft with roots in the work of artists like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

In 1978, Zevon released Excitable Boy (produced by Jackson Browne and guitarist Waddy Wachtel) to critical acclaim and popular success. The title tune (about a juvenile sociopath’s murderous prom night) name-checked “Little Susie”, the heroine of former employers the Everly Brothers’ tune “Wake Up Little Susie”, while songs such as “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” and “Lawyers, Guns and Money” used deadpan humor to wed geopolitical subtexts to hard-boiled narratives. Tracks from this album received heavy FM airplay and the single release “Werewolves of London”, which featured Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, was a relatively lighthearted version of Zevon’s signature macabre outlook and a Top 30 success.

Critic Dave Marsh, in The Rolling Stone Record Guide (1979), called Zevon “one of the toughest rockers ever to come out of Southern California”. Rolling Stone called the album one of the most significant releases of the 1970s and placed him alongside Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and Bruce Springsteen as one of the four most important new artists to emerge in the decade.

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Wednesday Rock Blogging | 0 comments

The Pretenders

pretendersAfter steady doses of mainstream hard rock throughout the 1970s, I thought the new wave/punk music was for somebody else. In 1979, a friend had me listen to the first album by a new group called the Pretenders, and I thought this alternative stuff might be worth a listen after all.

The original line-up, in black and white:

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014 in Wednesday Rock Blogging | 1 comment

The Untouchables

These guys can probably claim to have played every venue in the state, including CSU Fullerton around 1982. From wiki:

The Untouchables are a soul/mod revival band from the Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California area. Described by original lead singer Kevin Long as “mods who played ska music,” The Untouchables are credited with being America’s first ska band.

They formed in 1981 as part of the embryonic L.A. mod revival, after being inspired by the ska revival/punk rock band The Boxboys. Since some couldn’t play instruments, they either hastily learned, or became vocalists.

After a shaky start playing at parties, the integrated septet were eventually booked at the O.N. Klub (known as the On to regulars). The band had guaranteed the club that they would pack the venue, and they did not disappoint. In middle of that year, they released their first (ska-styled) 7″ single, copies of which were snapped up by local mods. Late in 1982, the band began a stint as the house band at the Roxy Theatre.

Their second single, “The General,” became a minor local hit, despite poor distribution. The band performed “The General” in the 1984 comedy The Party Animal, and they appeared as a scooter gang in the movie Repo Man. In early 1984, they were signed to Stiff Records. Concerts with The B-52′s, Black Uhuru, Bow Wow Wow, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, No Doubt and X all over California gave the group a disparate following of whites, blacks, mods, punks, surfers and rockabilly fans, with the local performances drawing up to 1,500 people. The band also appeared in the 1984 film Surf II, performing “Dance Beat”, and 1987′s No Man’s Land, performing “What’s Gone Wrong”.

Posted by on Mar 5, 2014 in Wednesday Rock Blogging | 3 comments