Episode 3.6: Jobriath

jobriath-album-cover

Jobriath – Jobriath – Elektra – 1973

Bowie. Bolan. The Dolls. These are the names that we have hallowed through the decades as bastions of glam rock, the genre that defined the early ‘70s urban rock scene. Simultaneously swirling around the glam galaxy was a soft-spoken, fair-featured piano prodigy who called himself Jobriath, and though he is less featured in the annals of music history, his influence is no less felt by generations of flamboyant, theatrical rock performers who came after him.

Often cited as the first openly gay rock star, Jobriath rocketed from musical theatre actor and folk songwriter to full-on glam star in seemingly no time at all, thanks to aggressive marketing strategies from his Svengali-like manager, Jerry Brandt. Jobriath burned hot and bright for a few years, but his star fell just as quickly as it rose, and he spent the remainder of his days living out of the pyramid apartment on the roof of the Chelsea Hotel before his premature death in 1983. 

In this episode, we unpack the many ways Jobriath’s story — though shorter than his glam peers — has volumes to teaches us about the genre, changing social norms between the last decades of the 20th century and now, gender and sexuality, and why in the h*ck someone would even want to be famous in the first place.

Listen to Jobriath: iTunesSpotify 

Subscribe on iTunes

Episode notes and postscript corrections

  • If you know Jobriath, welcome. If you’re new to the party, there’s room for you here, too.
  • Listen, we know Spotify is mostly shady. But, man, we’ve discovered — and re-discovered — so many awesome artists through our Discover Weekly playlists, and that’s worth a shout.
  • The hype machine behind Jobriath is very much of its time. We had a lot to say about how we look at it now, and whether or not that could happen today. Have thoughts? Get at us.
  • Shoutout to the collapse of the American Dream and its reverberating effect on how we consume culture as a whole!!!
    • If you are any kind of sociologist, anthropologist, historian… in that general realm… and want to talk to us about this for show purposes, YOU KNOW WHERE TO FIND US!
  • VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION: Is Richard Gere a zaddy!?
    • Ya we know, totally random that he was at the recording sessions for this album but, hey, the ‘70s.
    • If you are like “tf is a zaddy…” please pause what you’re doing and take a look at our updated glossary page. We’ll wait.
  • Needless to say, the album bombed and music journalists — mostly men, duh — had a field day writing “you’re a cheap Bowie impersonation” takedowns.
  • We stan a good, hit-the-ground-running album opener!
  • Revisit our episode on the Rolling Stones’ Some Girls to get an idea of what we’re talking about with this whole Mick Jagger comparison and ~circle of influence~
  • Jobriath made great strides as the first openly gay rock star, but it’s interesting to see how much he kept private at the same time.
  • Carly is ABSOLUTELY that Theatre Girl who will reference obscure cast recordings, do not @ us!!!
  • Again, maybe Carrie’s 21st century cynicism speaking but: When an artist candidly states their desire for fame and a glamorous life, how do you tell what’s authentic? When does their art transcend being something they love and becomes something they do because it gets them fame?
  • Okay but seriously, peep the lyrics to “World Without End” and try to tell us culture isn’t cyclical af.
  • Is “Space Clown” just generic brand “Starman”?
  • Late-60s/early-70s pop culture was truly wildin’ for space and an abstract view of the future and we love how endearingly dated it ends up being
  • Shoutout to songs that have shoutouts to other people and influences — we love a good fangirl/fanboy moment!!!
    • ICYMI here’s our Tom Tom Club episode we dropped a silly reference to.
    • @ drag queens: seriously consider doing “Movie Queen” in your act. You’re welcome!
    • More info about Jobriath’s alter ego Cole Berlin in our further reading notes below.
  • “I’m a Man” is an ahead of its time jam and a half, thank you for coming to our TED Talk
    • We’ll do an episode on John Cale eventually. We know we bring him up too often for not having given him his own episode to shine.
    • Masculinity is so complicated and we cannot believe this song about the ways it can be both aggressive and fragile came out in 1973.
    • Like, seriously, we’re only now starting to seriously talk about gender and toxic masculinity and just now see more inclusivity for pop stars challenging gender norms. Shouts to Jobriath for bringing this up decades ago.
    • Here’s a quick guide to androgyny in rock — which shows its male privilege and begs us to question: Why weren’t women afforded the same opportunities — or as many opportunities — to gender-bend as their male counterparts?
    • In the end, it’s all a flex.
  • Once again, we LIVE for the way ‘70s music referenced rock of the ‘50s and how much glam influenced punk.
  • It’s incredible see how much Jobriath’s legacy lives on, particularly in very recent history. You know we’ve got a bunch of examples for you in our new and improved master playlist.
    • We’ve split our playlists up by season because the one got too big. You’re so welcome!
    • Follow season one, season two, and season three (we’re on season three now).
  • As always, find and follow us on Facebook and Twitter if you don’t already.

Favorite track(s): I’m A Man (Carly) | I’m A Man (Carrie)
Least favorite track: Space Clown (Carly) | Blow Away (Carrie)

Album credits:
we couldn’t find anything further detailed than “performer” for many of the talent credited

  • Jobriath — writer, performer, producer
  • Steve Love — guitar
  • Billy Schwartz — guitar
  • Andy Muson — performer
  • Ken Bichel — performer
  • Peter Frampton — performer
  • Carl Hall — performer
  • Tasha Thomas — performer
  • Heather Macrae — performer
  • Peggy Nestor — performer
  • John Syomis — performer
  • Gerhard — performer
  • Zenobia — performer

Further watching:
Jobriath A.D. – Glam Rock’s Lost God trailer | 2012
“I’m A Man” live on The Midnight Special | 1974
“Rock of Ages” live on The Midnight Special | 1974

Further reading:
Music’s Unsung LGBTQ Heroes | Rolling Stone (June 2018)
The Tragedy of Jobriath, the World’s First Openly Gay Rock Star | Gay Times (May 2018)
The Unbelievably True Story of Jobriath, Music’s First Openly Gay Rock Star | Highsnobiety (April 2017)
The Rise and Fall of Jobriath, Pop’s First Openly Gay Star | AnOther (January 2017)
A Life Story of Glitter and Tragedy | The New York Times (May 2014)
Cole Berlin: An Elegy | The Spectacled Avenger (July 2012)
Jobriath: The Man Who Fell To Earth | The Guardian (March 2012)

Episode 2.10: JUJU

siouxsie-and-the-banshees-juju

Juju – Siouxsie and the Banshees – Polydor – 1981

In 1981, British rock was in a transitional phase. Punk had, by then, all but completely faded out, and new wave and post-punk were shaping fresh ideas of how rock could sound. It was in this environment that Siouxsie and the Banshees were set to record their fourth album Juju. After going through a lineup change before their previous release, and with guitarist John McGeoch now cemented as an official member, the band was ready to experiment with their sound, to create lyrical and melodic concepts that would mesh together cohesively as one work. The band created and molded the songs for Juju while on tour, working the songs out live and letting them take the dark, theatrical, romantic shape that would give the album its singular sound, the final product of which would help define the subset of post-punk that would come to be known as “goth rock.”

In this episode, we discuss this move from punk to post-punk, detail the Banshees’ stylistic choices and conceptual soundscapes, and (surprise) have a conversation about feminism and punk rock.

Listen to Juju: iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

Subscribe on iTunes

Episode notes and postscript corrections

  • Hello, and welcome to our first post-punk/goth rock episode!
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees use a ton of romantic imagery in their lyrics. We highly recommend following along and checking out the lyrics to each song here.
  • Shoutout to Budgie for hitting those drums for his life, henny!!!!
  • @ VH1: We are full of fun facts and available to host a revival of Pop-Up Video. We’re cheap. Call us.
  • Hello, we’re never not on our feminist-soapbox bullshit, and Siouxsie and the Banshees are no exception.
    • See our further reading notes below for two woke as hell essays about the intersection of punk and feminist identity.
    • Siouxsie’s stylized look totally comes out of a stylized ‘60s girl group aesthetic — except she’s the one in charge, and you can tell she’s a totally unfuckwithable baddie.
    • Revisit our episode and our liner notes on Blondie’s Parallel Lines. We had A LOT to say about the way female artists created and controlled their own images — and the way that got twisted and co-opted by the media and their legacies.
    • Friendly reminder, though, that women can be smart and stylish at the same time!!! Women are complex creatures!!!
  • Be sure to follow our master soundtrack on Spotify for all the song references we’re dropping, from Brian Eno to Sonic Youth.
  • Shoutout to “Monitor” containing, like, three different meanings in one song. Words! They’re fun!
  • Is Sonic Youth the Kevin Bacon of rock and roll? Hit us up and tell us what you think, because we’ve talked about them in three episodes now, so.
  • We’re never not talking about how songs that were accepted in decades past would come off as problematic today. “Head Cut,” banger as it is, is definitely one of them.

Favorite track: Monitor and Spellbound (Carly) | Spellbound (Carrie)
Least favorite track(s): Night Shift (Carly) | Night Shift (Carrie)

Album credits

  • Siouxsie Sioux — vocals, guitar on “Sin in My Heart”
  • Steven Severin — bass
  • Budgie — drums, percussion
  • John McGeoch — guitar

Further watching:
What is Goth Music? A Brief Overview of Goth Subgenres | 2017
Rock Family Trees: Banshees and Other Creatures | 2001
Juju Live Tour | 1981
“Spellbound” music video | 1981
“Arabian Knights” music video | 1981
“Voodoo Dolly” live | 1981
Spellbound: The Story of John McGeoch (radio doc) | Date Unknown

Further reading:
The Story of Goth in 33 Songs | Pitchfork (October 2017)
In Romanticizing Riot Grrrl, We’ve Forgotten the Women of UK Punk That Paved the Way | Noisey (April 2015)
Siouxsie and the Banshees: “We Were Losing Our Minds” | Uncut (October 2014)
Dissecting the Deathly Mystique of Siouxsie and the Banshees | AV Club (July 2013)
Siouxsie and the Banshees: “We Were Losing Our Minds” | Uncut (October 2014)
Juju Re-Release Liner Notes | 2006
The Image of Siouxsie Sioux: Punk and the Politics of Gender | Academic paper (April 1995)

 

Episode 9: MARQUEE MOON

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MARQUEE MOON – Television – Elektra Records – 1977

On March 31, 1974, a young band called Television played their first gig at recently-opened Bowery dive CBGB. Not long before, they had helped Hilly Kristal put the CBGB stage together; now, they were performing in the club that they would help to immortalize. Television, comprised of Tom Verlaine, Richard Lloyd, Richard Hell (replaced by Fred Smith in 1975), and Billy Ficca, soon became the de facto house band at CBGB, appearing regularly and becoming a staple of the growing scene that would come to include the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Dead Boys, and Patti Smith, to name a few.

With their popularity growing, the logical next step would have been to record an album, but Television bided their time. They chose to hone their sound, to develop and grow as a band, so by the time they were signed to Elektra Records in 1976, they were more than ready to begin work on what would become the seminal Marquee Moon. Released in early 1977, the album is regarded as one of the greatest of the punk era, containing songs that continue to be referenced today in covers and samples.

We chose this album as the first to be covered from our show’s namesake year because of its grit, its timeliness and timelessness, and its particular way of getting under your skin and making you feel more electrically charged than you were when you began the album. In this episode, we explore how Television’s and CBGB’s beginnings are inextricably linked, dive into Marquee Moon’s darkness and dreaminess, and outline the continuation of the band’s sound, proving that their legacy still thrives today.

Listen to Marquee Moon: iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

Subscribe on iTunes

(and hey, while you’re at it, please rate and review us in the iTunes store so more people can discover us and we can all be pod friends who talk about music together!) 

Episode notes and postscript corrections

  • We are 500 percent here for Fairfield Theatre Company’s Emerging Artists Series. It highlights the importance of providing a platform for developing musicians while simultaneously offering opportunities and experiences to expand a community’s interests with alternative live music you might have to take a trip into the city to hear.
    • If you’re in Connecticut: GO.
    • If you’re in New York: GO. It’s well worth the mini-field trip — people there are astoundingly nice (a teenager told Carly she looked “dope” and meant it) and everything is gorgeous and the venue itself is great. Also, the Metro North train ride was way better than any L we’ve been on, so maybe consider bopping up to Fairfield sometime instead of Bushwick. You know we’ll be there.
    • Here’s more information about the series, its upcoming featured acts, how to get tickets, and all that other logistical good stuff, if you’re interested.
  • If you’re into Kraftwerk, or into electronic music that’s less of that club trap stuff and more analog, atmospheric, transportive, and chill, check out Xeno and Oaklander.
  • If you’re into old-school, hip-hop style DJ sets with sick scratching, funky beats, and danceable samples, check out Kid Ginseng.
  • Brooklyn Flea’s annual record fair is a can’t-miss event and a great chance to score some of those albums you’ve been searching high and low for.  But, it’s extremely difficult to exercise self-control at the record fair. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
  • 1977 was one of the greatest years of our lives and we weren’t even born yet.
    • Marquee Moon and Rumours were released in the same week. Like. The year was stacked, you guys.
  • RIP CBGB. We didn’t know you personally, but we’ve consumed enough (too much) secondhand information to miss you.
    • An anecdote about how long we’ve been the goobiest nerds: when CBGB was closing, Carrie begged her parents to take her to one of the final concerts. Unsurprisingly, they were like “You are 15 years old. No.” Carly, also 15 at the time, cried and moaned “Nooo, I’m never going to get to go to CBGB!!!!” These are very true stories. You can ask our parents.
    • We do not speak of or even look at the men’s designer fashion store (or even use its name) that’s in CB’s place now. It’s offensive.
    • See our further watching section below to feast on some great docs about Hilly Kristal and CBGB. Just don’t watch the CBGB movie. It’s… not good.
    • Our further reading section is also stacked, by the way.
  • You can listen to Neon Boys’ early demos here for a taste of what Television would become.
  • You can listen to the Brian Eno demos here to understand just how developed their final recorded music was.
  • Marquee Moon was a commercial flop in the U.S., but it was a moderate hit in the U.K., and it ended up on countless year-end best-of reviews (not to mention more 10, 50, and 100 Best of All Time lists).
  • 20th Century Women gets early punk so right, but this quote is particularly spot on: “It’s like they’ve got this feeling, and they don’t have any skill, and they don’t want skill, because it’s really interesting what happens when your passion is bigger than the tools you have to deal with it. It creates this energy that’s raw. Isn’t it great?”
    • What’s so fascinating about Television is that they were punks who had both — talent and passion — and were still able to exude raw energy.
  • We’ve discussed this before, but we love how diverse the CBGB microcosm was. Talk to us about it. We weren’t alive to witness it ourselves.
  • This episode goes out to Karin Berg and many, many other women whose histories have been buried. We’re doing our best to make sure their contributions aren’t forgotten.
  • Apparently “Venus” is about LSD? Or falling in love? Or both? Maybe don’t ask Tom Verlaine, because he’s actually said he doesn’t always understand what he’s writing.
  • Shoutout to basslines you can groove to. We love ‘em.
  • Okay, but “Friction” totally sounds like it could be a Zeppelin song, despite sounding authentically Television at the same time. This just shows how complex their sound could be and how many influences Television pulled in.
    • See our further reading section below to check out the NME review of Marquee Moon and an insanely in-depth interview with Richard Lloyd that covers all the bases. Click on that link. Actually read it. It’s good. Seriously.
    • Lawrence Welk? Really? Really.
  • Fasten your seatbelts, grab your pool floaties, do whatever you gotta do to roll safe. We’re about to tackle “Marquee Moon.”
    • What. A. Side. One. Closer. Honestly. “Stairway to Heaven” is possibly the only song that can come close to comparing.
    • “Marquee Moon” has several runtimes: 9:58 on the original vinyl pressing, 10:38 on subsequent rereleases, and 14 minutes or longer live. As much as we lust after having an OG copy of an album, we gotta say: those extra 40 seconds are so necessary.
    • Where were you when you first heard “Marquee Moon?”
    • No, really, someone wrote an opinion piece arguing that “Marquee Moon” is the best after party song ever.
    • Ranking it eighth in their flawed — we’ve mentioned our disdain for this list before (love you, Pitchfork, but cannot with this), but if you want to talk about it, by all means, contact us — list of the 200 best songs of the ‘70s, Pitchfork got something so, so right, describing “Marquee Moon” as: “punk’s contrarian think piece; a 10 minute odyssey for the dreamers and Deadheads inside CBGB.”
    • There is so. much. imagery. in this song. We would be here for hours if we went through it line by line, but here are the lyrics if you want to give it a stab.
    • RihannaMagic.gif = how it feels when “Marquee Moon” hits 9:15.
  • Yes, that’s “Elevation” you hear sampled in “Lovefool.”
    • Appropriation is the sincerest form of robbery, pass it on.
  • Go with Carrie here: Lindsey Buckingham totally appropriated crazy recording techniques off of punk artists while recording Tusk. Let’s imagine he heard the microphone lasso story and gave it a try.
  • Listen to Tennis’s dreamy cover of “Guiding Light” here.
  • Seriously, though, someone make us a mashup of “Heaven” and “Guiding Light” and we will love you forever. Those basslines.
  • Shoutout to Carly for playing music teacher and giving all of us a walk-through of the popular major-major-minor-major chord formula.
  • Musical scavenger hunts are fun — and we might be the ones to bring up Carole King, Ricky Nelson, and Creedence Clearwater Revival all in relation to Television.
  • Hey! Wish you could listen to all the songs we compared to Prove It? Follow us on Spotify, where you’ll get them all in one place on our master playlist.
  • Television’s legacy, though small in recorded output, is vast in influence, from playing an integral role in the incubator community of CBGB to influencing the sound of countless bands to follow them, from Pearl Jam to R.E.M. to the Strokes.
  • Television still plays live dates together, although with guitarist Jimmy Rip in Richard Lloyd’s place.
    • Television is hitting the festival circuit this summer, if you’re interested.
    • Richard Lloyd is performing solo these days, including a set on June 3 in New York at the Bowery Electric. You know we’ll be there, so if you’re in the area, check it out (and come say hi).
  • As always, say hello on Facebook, Twitter, or email. We’ve had some wonderful conversations and made some great friends of the pod so far, and the more, the merrier.

Favorite track(s): Marquee Moon and Friction (Carly) | Marquee Moon and See No Evil (Carrie)
Least favorite track: Torn Curtain (Carly) | Torn Curtain (Carrie)

Album credits:
Billy Ficca – drums
Richard Lloyd – guitar (solo on tracks 1, 4, 5, and 6), vocals
Fred Smith – bass guitar, vocals
Tom Verlaine – guitar (solo on tracks 2, 3, 4, 7, and 8), keyboards, lead vocals, production

Further watching:
Richard Lloyd interview | 2013
Punk Revolution NYC (Television comes in around part 4, but all parts are enthralling) | 2011
Rock and Roll Punk | 1995
Tom Verlaine interview | 1992
Hilly Kristal interview (Warning: you will get feels) | 1990
The Blank Generation | April 1976

Further Reading:
Television’s Punk Epic “Marquee Moon,” 40 Years Later | Pitchfork (February 2017)
How Television Made Marquee Moon, the Best Punk Guitar Album Ever | The Observer (February 2017)
1976-1978: CBGB’s House Photographer | Mashable (September 2014)
Friction: The Making of Marquee Moon (aka the brilliant, super long Richard Lloyd interview) | Uncut Magazine (March 2012)
Television’s Marquee Moon (from the 33 1/3 book series) | 2011
The Rise of New York’s ’70s Rock Scene | Vanity Fair (November 2002)
Marquee Moon review | NME (February 1977)
Everything is Combustible (Richard Lloyd’s forthcoming memoir) | October 2017

Episode 5: THE SLIDER

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THE SLIDER – T. Rex – T. Rex (UK)/Reprise (USA) – 1972

By 1972, British music had fully renewed itself on the American scene in the form of glam rock. David Bowie, Slade, and Roxy Music were all part of this musical landscape that Marc Bolan and his band T. Rex expanded and exemplified. Glitter, platform boots, sci-fi imagery, and ’50s rock n’ roll roots made this sub-genre exciting, fresh, and new to kids of the ’70s who may not have realized that this was the rock n’ roll of Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Richard — just amped up and fuzzed out for the new generation.

T. Rex’s album The Slider made full use of all of these elements to create a vibe that spoke to a new generation of rock fans. The album was the pinnacle of the dreamworld that Marc Bolan created, and it leaves us spellbound more than 40 years later. In this episode, we theorize over some extremely poetic lyrics, attempt to decode Bolan, introduce a new hashtag (#RespectTheSequence), and somehow, somehow connect T.Rex to DJ Khaled.

Listen to The Slider: iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

Subscribe on iTunes

Episode notes and postscript corrections

  • First things first: we haven’t properly met, and we’ve gotten some great questions from listeners about who we are and what we do. You can read more about us (Carly and Carrie) on our about page, and answers to the most frequently asked questions on our new (and ever-evolving) FAQ page here.
  • We sound better! Thanks to our friend Jesse Berney for the mic recommendation.
  • We’re on Facebook! Like and follow us here, or just search for us. We are literally the only thing that comes up when you search 77 Music Club.
    • We’re also on Twitter! We tweet fun things! Follow us!
    • Last shameless self-promotion bit: follow us on Spotify, where we host a master playlist with all the songs we reference in each episode, as well as individual playlists from Carly and Carrie (your favorite kids who like music made before they were born and respect the art of sequencing) covering a slew of different themes, moods, and tunes we’re listening to in our off weeks.
  • Here’s a summary of how T. Rex morphed from psychedelic folk group Tyrannosaurus Rex to glam rock T. Rex.
  • Shoutout to A1 (again — no, this isn’t sponsored, but we wouldn’t be opposed to that…). If you’re in New York or visit sometime, we would love to go record shopping with you. 
  • “Ride a White Swan” was T. Rex’s real breakthrough to glam rock in 1970.
  • The 77 Music Club Soundtrack playlist (our master playlist) has “Metal Guru” and “My Sweet Lord” back to back, for comparison. Listen and let us know your thoughts.
  • Pitchfork placed “Metal Guru” at 154 on their best 200 songs of the 1970s (more about that later) — read what they had to say about it here.
  • “Panic” by The Smiths is also next to “Metal Guru” on our playlist — let us know what you think of the comparison.
  • Can anyone tell us where we can sit in on a college course called Glam Rock 101 (or something comparable)? Thanks.
  • Fun fact: Ringo Starr and Marc Bolan were bros. He did the photography for the album sleeve.
  • Another fun fact: The Slider was one of many albums recorded at the legendary Honky Chateâu. 
  • Hey, remember that time Dylan went electric?
  • Here’s another plug for our master playlist: compare and contrast Sheryl Crow’s “There Goes the Neighborhood” with “Rock On.” Tell us what you think.
  • Our last episode highlighted a band whose method was music first, then lyrics. With Marc Bolan, the lyrics came first, then the music. When met with criticism that T. Rex’s music was often repetitive or formulaic in composition, Bolan explained that this was intentional: the music needed to remain simple to let his complex lyrics shine.
  • “The Slider” definitely references drugs, definitely has exaggerated coke sniffing lines, and allusions to growing pot. Just @ us if you think we’re wrong, but it screams “Hm, do you get high? Do you? I don’t know, why don’t you tell us more.”
    • Jokes aside, RIP Marc Bolan. Bolan died in a car crash in 1977, two weeks before his 30th birthday. An ironic twist to the tragedy: he feared a premature death, so never learned to drive, but still harbored a fascination with cars.
  • We see you with that Max’s Kansas City shoutout in “Baby Boomerang,” Marc Bolan. We see you.
  • Marc Bolan’s lyrics are bonkers poetry and we absolutely love them. Just read “Baby Boomerang” and see for yourself.
    • The songs were mostly nonsense, but rather than sounding like gibberish, Bolan seemed to be speaking in an alien code that, to this today, we’re still not cool enough to decode.” — Pitchfork, getting something right in their deeply flawed (our opinion) 200 Best Songs of the 1970s list.
    • The Shins covered “Baby Boomerang” in 2004 and you should definitely give it a listen.
  • Anyway, here’s “Spaceball Ricochet.”
    • Part of punk rock’s merits was that it heralded in a greater acceptance of songs that weren’t joyous or pompous, rather, songs that were real, songs that were honest about insecurities in their lyrics and weren’t pretending to be cool. We think “Spaceball Ricochet” stands as a precursor to the genre; we’d love to know your thoughts on this hypothesis.
  • Listen to “Buick McCane.” Then listen to the Black Keys. (They’re both in our playlist; and, actually, it’s been noticed more than once that they wrote a song that is basically “Mambo Sun,” so.) Let us know if you think they could totally kill a T. Rex cover.
  • “Telegram Sam” is about Marc Bolan’s accountant, not his drug dealer. Sorry.
  • Hear us out: “Telegram Sam” did the DJ Khaled pep talk before DJ Khaled.
    • Brief background: DJ Khaled is a producer and a (not that great, tbh) rapper who is famous on the internet (Snapchat, mostly) for videos he shares from his daily life, mostly sharing his “major keys” to success. One time he got “lost” at sea on a jet ski and documented the saga. It was nuts.
    • He has a new baby son and likes to share videos in which he gives him inspirational pep talks. Here is our favorite. Google for more. Your heart will thank you.
    • Anyway, DJ Khaled’s “You’re a boss. You’re a don. You’re an icon. You’re a legend. You’re doing such a good job” spiel is the 21st century’s answer to Marc Bolan giving his friends shoutouts: “Telegram Sam, you’re my main man. Bobby’s alright, he’s a natural born poet — he’s just out of sight.”
    • Lesson: Be a good friend. Pep talk your bros.
  • Can anyone tell us what “Rabbit Fighter” is about? Because we are truly stumped.
  • If “Ballrooms of Mars” sounds like a very Bowie-esque title (and song), don’t be surprised— Bowie and Bolan were bros.
  • Blast “Chariot Choogle” in the car, windows down, volume all the way up. You’ll feel amazing.
    • We will definitely be renting a Zipcar (we live in New York; give us a break), picking a road trip, and doing this once the weather gets warm. We will report back.

Favorite track(s): Telegram Sam and Ballrooms Of Mars (Carly) | Metal Guru (Carrie)
Least favorite track: Rabbit Fighter (Carly) | Rabbit Fighter (Carrie)

Album credits:
Marc Bolan – vocals, guitar
Steve Currie – bass guitar
Mickey Finn – percussion, vocals
Bill Legend – drums
Mark Volman (“Flo”) – background vocals
Howard Kaylan (“Eddie”) – background vocals
Tony Visconti – production, sleeve photography, string arrangements
Ringo Starr – sleeve photography
Dominique Blanc Francard – engineering
Freddy Hansson – engineering
David Katz – orchestra contractor
Andy Scott – engineering assistance
Mark Paytress – liner notes
Chris Welch – liner notes

Further watching:
T. Rex – Get It On (Bang a Gong) on Top of the Pops | 1971 (Note: Bolan wears glitter under his eyes in a move that many music historians credit as the ushering in of glam rock)
T. Rex in Concert – Wembley | March 1972
Marc Bolan-Russell Harty interview | 1972

Further reading:
The Slider reissue review | Consequence of Sound (October 2010)
The Slider reissue review | Pop Matters (December 2010)
The Slider box set review | The Quietus (December 2012
The 10 Best T. Rex songs | Stereogum (June 2013)
Revisiting a Glam Milestone, T. Rex’s The Slider | Ultimate Classic Rock (July 2012)
The T. Rex Wax Co. Singles review | Pitchfork (January 2006)

Episode 3: ABANDONED LUNCHEONETTE

abandoned-luncheonette

ABANDONED LUNCHEONETTE – Hall and Oates – Atlantic Records – 1973

Hall & Oates’ Abandoned Luncheonette was the second album that the duo released during their formative years at Atlantic Records. Containing “She’s Gone,” one of their biggest and most recognizable hits, the album does not have a genre that is easy to pinpoint. Part folk, part rock, part soul, the meshing of sounds and instrumentation techniques make this album one that is unique to its time period and resonant to modern listeners.

In this episode, we talk about the legacy of this record and why young listeners can find as much to love within its album sleeves as those who have enjoyed it for decades. We also have some side discussions on the merits of dad rock, saxophones, and instruments as characters, and we reveal the name of our favorite local record store.

Listen to Abandoned Luncheonette: iTunes | Spotify | YouTube

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Episode notes and postscript corrections

  • Life comes at you fast
  • Debate amongst yourselves: Is Hall and Oates dad rock or mom rock, one, and two, what is the differentiator between the two?
  • Shoutout to A-1 Records — if you’re ever in New York, be sure to hit it up.
  • If you know what the technical term for “Dad language” is (Fatherese? Dadish?), please let us know.
  • Abandoned Luncheonette was their second album, but the first album Hall and Oates made upon moving to New York from Philadelphia. After their first album failed to perform, they felt they had nothing to lose — thus, the melting pot of influences all on one album.
    • Other people who recorded at Atlantic Studios at the same time: Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, and Led Zeppelin, which blew Hall and Oates’ minds.
  • “Had I Known You Better Then” had a great live version on Daryl Hall’s TV show, “Live from Daryl’s House” — see the further viewing below.
  • This is who Nick the Lounge Singer is, in case you’re not woke.
  • Somehow we made a Father John Misty reference and it works. (Here’s why.)
  • About that rando music video for “She’s Gone”…
    • MTV wasn’t created until 1981, so if you’re like “wait, they had a video,” you’re not alone.
    • Pitchfork included the video for “She’s Gone” in their 25 Best Music Videos of the 1970s, because it is a head scratcher. 
    • John Oates claims he leaked it to YouTube, which, like, okay. You should watch it below in our further watching section.
  • There is a real life abandoned luncheonette. It sat outside Pottstown, PA and, as of 2010, was still standing.
  • Given guitarist/not-quite-producer-but-influential-nonetheless Chris Bond’s Beatles-affinity, the use of horns on “Laughing Boy” isn’t surprising. They can be compared to The Beatles’ “For No One” — an instrument used almost as a way to echo the narrator’s mind. (It works better for Paul McCartney.)
  • Follow us on Spotify and we’ll hit you with that comparison between “Everytime I Look at You” and Joni Mitchell’s “Trouble Child.”
  • Speaking of legacy and influence, The Bird and the Bee recorded an entire album of Hall and Oates covers in 2010.
  • The Chocolate Watchband, the band that Carly mentioned she discovered on Spotify and thought was a new band, only to find that they were from the late ’60s, was a San Francisco band that was active in the Bay Area at the same time as Fritz, Stevie Nicks’s and Lindsey Buckingham’s pre- Buckingham Nicks band.
  • We would really love to talk to you about how millennials can all carry the torch for old music. Like, would really, really love to talk to you about it.

Favorite track: When The Morning Comes (Carly) | When The Morning Comes (Carrie)
Least favorite track: Laughing Boy (Carly) | Las Vegas Turnaround & I’m Just a Kid (Don’t Make Me Feel Like a Man) (Carrie)

Album credits:
Daryl Hall – lead vocals, mandolin, electric piano, keyboards
John Oates – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, wah-wah guitar
Joe Farrell – oboe, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone
Hugh McCracken – electric guitar
Chris Bond – mellotron, electric guitar, synthesizer
Steve “Fontz” Gelfand – bass
Bernard Purdie – drums
Ralph MacDonald – percussion
Jerry Ricks – acoustic guitar
Rick Marotta – drums, percussion
Gordon Edwards – bass
Richard Tee – piano
Gloria Agostini – harp
John Blair – electric vi-tar
Marvin Stamm – flugelhorn
Larry Packer – fiddle
Mark Horowitz – banjo
Arif Mardin, Christian Bond, Donald Wanner, John Oates, Kathy Mae Hohl, Ronald Wanner, Walter F. Hohl – “humanity chorus”

Produced by Arif Mardin
Production Assistant: Christopher Bond
Recording & Engineering: Alan Ade, Jimmy Douglass, Lewis Hahn, Joel Kerr, Gene Paul
Recorded at Atlantic Recording Studios and Advantage Sound Studios (New York, NY)
Mixing: Christopher Bond, Jimmy Douglass
Mastered By Stephen Innocenzi at Atlantic Recording Studios
Album Design and Photography: B. Wilson
Coordinator: Tommy Mottola

Further watching
“Had I Known You Better Then” from Live from Daryl’s House (2008)
“She’s Gone” — original music video from 1973

Further reading
How Hall and Oates Found Themselves on Abandoned Luncheonette | Ultimate Classic Rock (November 2015)
Graded on a Curve: Hall & Oates, Abandoned Luncheonette | The Vinyl District (February 2014)
Hall & Oates: 40 Years of Abandoned Luncheonette | American Songwriter (February 2013)
The Story of the Abandoned Luncheonette, AKA the Rosedale Diner | Diner Hotline Weblog (August 2010)
Hall and Oates, Abandoned Luncheonette | Pop Matters (June 2007)
Hall and Oates: The Self-Righteous Brothers | Rolling Stone (January 1985)

Episode 1: BUCKINGHAM NICKS

HOSTS’ NOTE: This podcast was born from an idea that predates the 2016 election. We kept pushing the release date back, thinking, “Does anyone really want to listen to a music podcast right now?” The answer to that will probably change daily, but the conclusion we came to is this: art is not going to stop. We will not stop auditioning, playing music, writing, or following any of our other passions. We need the arts — the joy, escapism, and enlightenment they bring — now more than ever. The albums we love will play on, so we will continue to talk about them. We are sure there will be times in the future when it feels trite to do this, but as long as music heals and uplifts, we’ve got a podcast to bring to you.

“Does anyone remember laughter?” — Robert Plant

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BUCKINGHAM NICKS – Buckingham Nicks – Polydor – 1973

Two years before joining Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had no idea what lay ahead of them. They were just two kids who wanted to make great music — and they just happened to be in love.

A cult favorite of Fleetwood Mac fans, this album is curiously still only available on vinyl. While bootlegs of the album can be streamed on YouTube, it has never been (officially) released on cassette, CD, or to streaming services like Spotify. This is perhaps part of the attraction to the album — this is music that doesn’t outright present itself; it must be found.

In this episode, we discuss why we both call this album our favorite of all time, what makes it unique, and why it still takes our breath away hundreds of listens later.

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Episode notes and postscript corrections

  • Lindsey was already in high school band Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band (later shortened to Fritz) when Stevie was asked to join in mid-1967 to replace the lead singer.
    • From 1968 to 1971, Fritz was Stevie Nicks on lead vocals, Lindsey Buckingham on bass and vocals, Brian Kane on lead guitar, Javier Pacheco on keyboards, and Bob Aguirre on drums.
    • Listen to live recordings of Fritz here.
  • Buckingham Nicks was recorded at the now-iconic Sound City studios in the Valley, working closely with producer Keith Olsen and friend and engineer Richard Dashut.
    • Keith Olsen’s production credits include albums with artists like Fleetwood Mac, Grateful Dead, Rick Springfield, Joe Walsh, and more.
    • Richard Dashut went on to serve as a producer and engineer with Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham from 1977 to 1995.
    • The Buckingham Nicks song “Crying in the Night” was the first song ever to be recorded on Sound City’s Neve analog console, known for its rarity, unique, warm sound, and extensive mixing capabilities. (This console now resides in Dave Grohl’s recording studio.)
  • The album cover imagery was shot by guitarist Waddy Wachtel’s brother, Jimmy, and features Stevie and Lindsey topless (but totally safe for work!). Stevie was hesitant to remove the expensive silk blouse she bought for the photoshoot with some of their last money. She was mortified that the final choice was one of the nude photos.
  • Listen to all three versions of Crystal (discussed 20 minutes in) and tell us which one is your favorite: Buckingham Nicks | Fleetwood Mac | Stevie Nicks 
  • A “simmering in the South” is definitely a way they described their cult following in Alabama — on more than one occasion.
  • About that European influence on “Long Distance Winner”… Stevie says it’s Greek, which, like, okay.
  • Buckingham Nicks went on a brief tour in the winter of 1974 before ending their live run with four shows in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Jacksonville, Alabama in January 1975.
  • Stevie and Lindsey joined Fleetwood Mac on New Year’s Eve, 1974, after Mick Fleetwood extended an offer to Lindsey and he replied, “Well, you gotta take my girlfriend, too.” Initially thinking of the gig as a temporary way to make a little money, Buckingham Nicks continued to hold onto their brand, contributing background vocals and production credits on albums like Warren Zevon’s Warren Zevon, Walter Egan’s Fundamental Roll, and John Stewart’s Bombs Away Dream Babies until the success of Fleetwood Mac and Rumours pretty much decided their well-documented fate.

Favorite track(s): Crying in the Night & Frozen Love (Carly) | Frozen Love & Stephanie (Carrie)
Least favorite track: Lola (Carly) | Django (Carrie)

Album credits:

  • Lindsey Buckingham – vocals, guitars, bass guitar, percussion
  • Stevie Nicks – vocals

Additional personnel:

  • Waddy Wachtel – guitars
  • Jorge Calderón – percussion
  • Jim Keltner – drums
  • Jerry Scheff – bass guitar
  • Peggy Sandvig – keyboards
  • Richard Hallagan – string arrangement
  • Monty Stark – synthesizer
  • Mark Tulin – bass guitar
  • Ronnie Tutt – drums
  • Gary ‘Hoppy’ Hodges – drums, percussion

Production:

  • Producer and engineer: Keith Olsen
  • Executive producer: Lee Lasseff
  • Assistant engineer: Richard Dashut

Further watching:
Sound City documentary trailer
Stevie Nicks’s solo performance of “Crying in the Night” in 2016

Further reading:
How the Elusive ‘Buckingham Nicks’ Established Stevie Nicks’s Songwriting Voice | NPR Music (January 2018) ed note: this is by Carrie so we’re a lil biased
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham made a fine pop record pre-Fleetwood Mac | AV Club (Sept. 2015)
How Sound City Rocked Dave Grohl’s World | The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 2013)
Recording Studios May Die, but the False Mythology Around Them May Not[on Sound City] | The Atlantic (Dec. 2012)
Buckingham Nicks reveal future plans in interview | Birmingham After Dark (Feb. 1975)