More Jack Kerouac riffs (in case you’re not getting enough) this one from the mighty Jerry Garcia
“I can’t separate who I am now from what I got from Kerouac. I don’t know if I would ever have had the courage or the vision to do something outside with my life – or even suspected the possibilities existed – if it weren’t for Kerouac opening those doors.”
Jerry Garcia, remembering Jack Kerouac who was born in Lowell, MA on March 12, 1922
Joe Strummer (Mellor) died around this day 17 years ago, not too old but old enough to leave an exceptionally eclectic legacy of undeniable mightiness.
His silver form hangs proudly in a 150 year old grain barn in provincial Japan in a beloved photo by (Vancouver treasure) Bev Davies from the US festival (the last show with Joe and Mick) in 1983 & has recently made friends with another version of himself from the same year, running the London marathon captured by Steve Rapport (former UK, now Pacifica, California and just releasing a book full of Joe/The Clash photos #PreOrder).
Hopping the stage and singing “White Riot” for the encore in 1984 (yes yes I know ya purists “out of control” wasn’t the *real*… oh forget it… and no way I could’ve got to the show at the Kerrisdale Arena a few years before with The Special’s playing and you know I would’ve loved that but born in 1970 is great for many things)
Take what you can take
and stage diving in front of Joe will always remain near the top of my list of “noteworthy life accomplishments” – I was 13, took the bus in from the suburbs, and stuck my dorky glasses in my jeans pocket and headed into the pit, completely overcome and immersed by this massive sound *and* songs which “really said something”.
I “celebrate his whole catalog ;)” from the 101’s, to The Clash, to Earthquake Weather etc, to the Mescaleros, to filling in with the Pogues, to hanging out at campfires at Glastonbury. And hear his legacy living on through voices from Billy Bragg to Don Letts and so many others.
Route 19 revisited
West Way to the world
The future is unwritten
PS if you need even more The Clash goodness, dig up a BBC audio video collage style film made on the streets of London around 1979, it’s so weirdly awesome great. (I’d’ve pasted here but I can’t figure out new word press blog thingie blah blah blah)
Oh here it is:
Oh yeah, dig this Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Live In Roseland Ballroom, New York / familair classics with the Mescas world beat flair
Another curious cameo, this one in a speedy lockdown montage video collage by a punky reggae band from London called Smiley and the Underclass and their song “We All Get Like This” from their EP “The Way To The Bomb” (Bandcamp) released July 1st / + FB & YT
It all flashes by rapidly but if you look sharp, you might see your old pal in the grain barn studio lip-syncing along to the chorus.
Bad Wougar is/was a hard rocking band in Vancouver BC with four fine gentleman who practised diligently in a room called the “the Den” which I’ve visited several times – occasionally playing some drums, especially extended jams to “Cortez the killer”. The name “Bad Wougar” came from a campfire myth about a dangerous animal which was a mix of a wolf and a cougar.
On a trail walk one day, I recorded a myth about the creature for the bands use and amusement. They then invited me into the glorious brand-new Monarch Studio (which has an origin story to share another time) to record a few snippets from the riff for the songs. In all, my voice/words appear in two tracks on this final release which was distributed on CD with a paper gatefold cover (i have 2, Mac Kobayashi has 1).
For the record, released: February 28, 2014 (noting this was a high point in an otherwise tough tough year). As mentioned, the four members of the band (including a non-related Olson) were each fantastically kind, interesting fellas as well as quality musicians and it’s a privilege to know them.
So it goes, folks have other commitments and adventures in life so they don’t play anymore but I hope this CD/album is more widely distributed in future / Kind of band that would be big in Europe.
… every time I sling this album on the stereo I can’t but feel like I’ve been transported to a wood-panelled backwoods bar where the band are plying their gnarled rock ‘n’ roll trade in such a fashion that the venue’s customers are worried that the whole place will go up in flames, the sounds so incendiary….
There’s a grubby charm to this band and its self-described brand of hard charging rock ‘n’ roll. It’s garage rock by way of the forest and you can’t really ask for anything dirtier, earthier than that.
As the stoner-like riff of final track, ‘Spoke Too Soon’, rattles the fillings out of my teeth I’m left wondering if maybe what I just listened to was part of a crazed fever dream. Then I look up and see the album cover, the eyes of the Bad Wougar appearing to follow my every move…..
This spoken kick off made me realize I was in for a fun ride, just as if I was watching a movie–and I was not disappointed. …
The album itself has a delightfully punk element to it, often mixing with elements of classic and progressive rock. It could have been released in 1984, 1994, 2004, or 2014 and reflected the music of its time period.
Yeah i know the pics aren’t great but just to document my trip to Subpop HQ, Seattle (of course)… in March 2010 – I was in the city for a conference, gig, start-up internet-y meeting or some thing, I remember eating some Hawaiian/Japanese hybrid at an izakaya and a few other activities but importantly, visiting Subpop.
Note: This was the third company I had SubPop (OlyWa, Zhonka, Hootsuite) as a customer and received a warm familiar welcome and buncha questions about social marketing for bands/labels strategy. Felt useful.
Carrying on anyway,… i had visited the old HQ years ago (with Banghi and scored a Sebadoh “Zippo” and other treats) but this time got the full tour, especially loved the walls various photo strip booth and instant-photo collages – So many faces from bands I know and appreciate over decades, I’ll present it in a style that’s right out of my playbook.
Plus various walls of silk screen posters (silkscreening done on site), walls of stickers (yeah my style!), bunch of other neat stuff like original invoice for the Nirvana 7″, original loser ads, the framed “Wood Records” for bands it sold fewer than a gold record, some of the gold/platinum records are displayed in the toilet, and, at-the-time-just-recently framed and hung properly B&W Charles Peterson (who rocks the instagram like whoa) classic photos.
I left with a box of CDs, bunch of posters and other ephemera, most importantly it Mudhoney double signed by fcking legend Mark Arm of Mudhoney who works as a shipping warehouse wrangler (and to whom I asked a stupid question about his other band Monkeywrench) PS thanks Dean.
Digression: Remember back when Subpop was a column in the fine alt/news-weekly “The Rocket” (thanks Marty) and Olympia/ Evergreen was sort of where Poneman/Pavitt started it up, and most of the bands first came through, a lot more to say about this but you probably know already… (see also: Go With the Flow).
Summary: Woke up to the news, quit my job, went to a candlelight vigil, passed one around, talked to some geeks from Pacific Daily News newspaper, learned about the Internet, signed up for class the next day, started making websites about hemp in Japan, got a new job, quit, went to Palau and Yap, went to Olympia, met some Internet hippies… somehow its today.
Note: Tegan and Sara performed a special promo gig for a Vancouver radio station in Dec. 2012 to which i was invited. Later had a nice chats with the affable twins and exchanged signed items and riffed about “early tracks” and the evolution of the creative process. Recently they re-recorded/re-released some early days tunes and i am moderately convinced the impetus was sparked that day :)
Musician and pal Dan Mangan shares a birthday (april 28) with my sweet wife Ryoko (he’s a year older) and while we were in birthday mode for wife, and in the the kura (barn) studio, whipped him up a friendly video with various records and posters of his and other amusements for his, and possibly your, amusement.
Bonus: here’s me and Dan and (at the time) Mayor Gregor Robertson at a charity street hockey game in Vancouver (Five Hole for Food) in 2011(?)
While sorting through archive in the kura/barn studio, came across a mighty bin of t-shirts from bands/tours, mtn bike races, trips, handmade goodness, or just quirky/weird. Of course many/most didn’t make it to this point but several did
Not surprisingly, rather delicate and need a freshening up. Considering some sort of craft project for these (a quilt? stretched over wooden frame? leave as is?) but in the meantime, a couple quick snaps of a few treasures which create a chronology from the early 1980s.
Call this: Front/back quick snaps, part 1 (without annotations):
David Bowie 83
The Clash 84
REM 85 & 86 (iirc as i saw many times and all a bit hazy)
To me, there is importance in preserving the efforts of “small time“ ￼artists putting their goodness out into the world in a true DIY style.￼
This stash includes:
* “Houseboat” and “Filterland” /4 track recorded cassettes￼ (with a lot of doubling up and bouncing… really fantastic)￼ by Chris Jacobson (who I met in Guam but he’s from Rhode Island and I’ve lost track of him￼￼)
* Chris Sullivan / who I played in a band with in Salt Lake City, he’s in Kentucky (i think) after going to Alaska to catch crabs (the kind from the ocean) or something like that… Fantastically versatile musician and charismatic front man￼
* “ARCO Hotel” by Joe Williamson who I knew in North Burnaby, BC years ago. He’s a deep jazz and classical (mostly) upright bass player with training at McGill. Cassette was recorded on New Year’s Day (I think) at eponymously named hotel in Amsterdam. Every once in while I see him pop up in European jazz circles doing important, eccentric things￼
* JahWah (demo), my pals from BC playing some funky punky reggae goodness / Chris Gee and renegades (Rob T & Merlin)
* Metal Planet and Scandoll, a couple of metal bands – who shared members – from my first go around in Tottori, Japan in 1993￼￼
* Francisco Fernandez’s band “the ferocious few “ / purchased from him busking on the streets of Austin at SXSW. He’s still out there doing his thing, give him some support
* Stony Curtis and the pipe dreams, one of many submissions when I was making Hempen Road documentary film… This one didn’t get used but I appreciated the effort.￼
* Another radio show on which I talked about hemp cannabis somewhere someplace somehow, have a lots of these sort of things … and worth noting a lot of these tunes were used in my documentary films, various podcasts and pop up here and there, or sometimes not. ￼
Most of these, I suspect there’s very few original/organic/analog versions floating around, maybe a few others stashed in forgotten shoeboxes in various basements, attics and closets. Proud to be a curator.￼
And yes, I’ve course I have more, a whole box of cassettes and CDs labeled “dude, you got to hear my band…”￼