Pete Shelley – A Recollection And Thank You

Music lovers collective hearts- all over the world, are aching right now. Earlier this week we lost Pete Shelley, Buzzcocks main man, and prolific songwriter. It’s few who can equal the bursts of joy, and also the flow and ebb of emotion that were consistently woven into his compositions.

Luckily I got to see them in the 80s, and many times afterwards. They were one of the most energetic live bands I’ve ever witnessed, and although my exchanges with him during his WFMU visit were brief, he made an impression on me of being a lovely human being with regard for everyone as well as being very focused & fun loving.

They played live on WFMU in July 1996 and I engineered the set –  before I had much tech training. It was not the greatest audio experience (I remember attaching a headphone cable to drummer Phil Barker’s belt loops and telling him he wasn’t allowed to move – and bringing him water!) , and I’m not sure any recording of it even exists, but I remember parts of the day vividly.

Buzzcocks were touring in a winnebago, and our driveway in East Orange, NJ was curvy, narrow, and had a little wall /high curb, so it was difficult for larger vehicles to navigate. They may have gotten stuck when they drove in, they definitely got stuck when driving out.

When Shelley specifically walked in the door, I was like a dog straining on a leash… “I LOVE YOU!! — I’m Diane” giggling, like a fool. He gave me a big grin and said “well, hello, I”m Pete”, and I countered with a loud “I KNOW”, and we both cracked up.

Steve Diggle must have been occupied somewhere in the station until air time, as I didn’t speak with him much. They were as gracious as could be considering that WFMU was hosting a live band with someone at the helm that was still learning to get around on the gear. They played on DJ Leila’s show, and although I don’t remember how long their set was, I DO remember them playing “What Am I Supposed To Do” a Steve Diggle composition from All Set, and “Harmony In My Head,” for sure. The rest is as they say, all a blur.

That was also the day their label -IRS records went under, and they were told they would have to give up the winnebago. After the session, they were trying to figure out what to do about the tour (this was the All Set record) and their vehicle.

Here are links to a couple of WFMU programs that played recent sets honoring Buzzcocks/Shelley  Joe Belock’s 3 Chord Monte and Todd-O-Phonic Todd 

This is a link to my WFMU show when I interviewed Steve Diggle -and it contains about 10 Buzzcocks songs throughout and is time stamped so you can pop around. It was edited to be a solo  podcast, and there are no direct podcast links, so my podcast page is  linked, and then you’ll need to browse! The iTunes listing number changes every time an episode is added, so look for the release date of 9/4/2017, as they are chronologically sorted.

It’s always sad when we lose an artist – too young or not. And with any creative person with an output, at least we have their legacy. There is a campaign to make “Ever Fallen In Love” to be #1 this week (it did not originate with the band, but they endorse it), it’s got the same Buzzcocks link, and I suppose if everyone does download the identical link, that could actually happen. There are lots of other remembrances and live shows being posted, follow the band’s twitter feed.

And, his work is done, and done SO WELL! Shelley’s solo records are wonderful and he is one of those people who I think was made to express himself through music. For that we are all very lucky, lucky that however his life meandered, that he got in front of people, made records and blew us all away. Pete Shelley’s works – with Buzzcocks and solo – were a force, an inspiration and will always put a smile on my face. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Gimme Radio – Episode 7 and The Vault Is Open, Join The Brigade!

Argh! I love doing radio and I am currently doing a program called LIFER on GimmeRadio.com. Gimme is a great station that’s primarily metal oriented, or at least focuses on music that is generally heavy. There are lots of great shows by great DJs, musicians and other notable people in the heavy music community on the station, and it’s great fun. My current time slot is every other Friday at 7pm ET, and I just aired my 7th program Friday!

Gimme Radio is making all it’s past archives available to listeners who join the The Gimme Brigade and thereby having access to The (Gimme) Vault. It’s a great opportunity for people to check out any of the shows at will, on their own schedule, binge listen, and also hear great programs that are off the schedule currently. Go here to check out the special offers on it at the moment, and in case you didn’t get a chance to listen to LIFER #7, here is the playlist:

 

Hellhammer – Messiah

Emperor – Beyond the Great Vast Forest

Hellchild – Long and Stable Bridge

Warfare – Electric Mayhem

Mirror – Heavy King

Spiritual Beggars – Fools Gold

Cattle Press – The Hole Is Home

Continue reading “Gimme Radio – Episode 7 and The Vault Is Open, Join The Brigade!”

Highlights of Brooklyn’s First Prophecy Fest

November 2nd and 3rd marked the American debut of Prophecy Fest. The German label  Prophecy Productions, have held festivals inside a huge cave in Germany in the past, and after finally having a US West Coast office/presence, they turned to The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn for their first festival stateside. Some highlights:

FRIDAY November 2nd:  Volur from Toronto, a burst of beauty augmented by punishing riffs yet trance inducing at the same time. A trio featuring electric violin and male & female vocals, they were expressive and powerful with a level of authenticity that made them seem hungry, but in a good way – certainly not malnourished!

Xasthur played their acoustic set to an unsettled crowd that was really a little too loud for the subtlety of the instruments. A trio built around Scott “Malefic” Connor, their unplugged presence invited closeness, and played crisply through a set of compositions that shared a blackened timbre with the Xasthur of the past, but felt stripped of abandon and negated by the audience.

Kayo Dot featured their heavy layers and varied atmospheric melodies woven between two drummers, entranced the audience. Their sometimes glistening and experimental, sometimes depressive goth sounds took the audience on a mid-evening experience that kept on giving.

The most recent Prophecy label signing closed out Friday night’s performances. Novembers Doom from Chicago opened with 2 songs off their most recent release – Hamartia, and closed with 2 tracks that went back to 2007 – not their origins by far, but a really good cross section of their work over their 20+ year history. These death/doom rockers were a good conclusion for the evening, with their heavy melodic doom pushing the evening to a final culmination.

SATURDAY November 3rd: 1476 from Salem began the evening with  a dark, atmospheric and sometimes uneven presentation. They could be likened to Current 93 meets The Cult, but that would probably not help anyone determine what 1476 sounded like. I was dying for the Les Paul to be turned way UP during the show, although it’s lower volume seemed deliberate. Their more rock oriented parts cried out for more attention, and their chilling moments were reserved for distance. The variation in style and tempo was overall cool and surprising, but made it difficult for this novice listener to determine whether or not I would enjoy their works as a whole. Check their Bandcamp for yourself.

Prophecy Fest was near the end of a 3-week tour for Seattle’s Year Of The Cobra, but they were nothing  but energized. The 2 piece mastered doom, sludge, and kickassdom in one shot with their ferocious set. Although consisting of bass and drums in physical instrumentation, Amy’s vocals bring melody and pull the entire package together. Boldly refreshing, focusing on the stoner and doom vibe, look for a Jack Endino produced release from them in 2019!

Eye of Nix created an atmosphere that was anguished as it was  eclectic with their psychedelic blackness. They had more of a noisy element onstage than I’ve heard on their recordings. I found them to be passionate and at times thrashy while still holding the feeling of bleakness, alongside Joy Von Spain’s fervent vocals. They had the least amount of lighting of any of the performers, and I really would have liked to have seen more of their darkness!

From almost absolute darkness to subtle musical darkness, France’s Alcest closed the festival. One of the best known bands on the Prophecy roster, they played all of 2016’s Kodama in it’s entirety. Neige and his band were precise, on and energetic, bringing their blackgaze style to crescendo after crescendo throughout their set. They took very few breaks and blazed through a fan fulfilling collection with their grandiose atmospherics and doom tinged style.

Label head Martin Koller embodied the passion of the Prophecy label in response to my question: Who are you looking forward to watching tonight?  – His answer was an enthusiastic two or more sentences about every single band. That’s the kind of label you want to be on if you’re an artist. Welcome to America, Martin!

Martin Bisi: Articulating Chaos

Acclaimed music producer Martin Bisi is a busy guy. The proprietor of BC Studio seems to always be on the move, as much as being on the move is counter to being a studio owner. He is currently touring in Europe, the BC35 collection was released earlier this year and refers to the weekend of performances – and resulting album that commemorates the 35 year anniversary of his space in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Many great musicians were invited to participate by Martin, and were assembled into ensembles – not or barely rehearsed and recorded with a live audience. These tracks were mixed and edited over several months by Martin and by veterans of the studio. A partial list of those on the recordings include: Laura Ortman, Dana Schechter, Bob Bert, JG Thirwell, Skeleton Boy, Jason LaFarge, Stu-Art Gray, Jim Coleman, Rich Hutchins, and many more.

I was lucky enough to have him on my WFMU program twice this year, both times to talk about the release, and to speak to Martin about what it takes to be an engineer, where and how he found his niche – that he surmises is “articulating chaos,” and his background that led to such a specific way of listening, as well as his own performances. Here is the link to the First interview and then the Second interview. These are full 3-hour radio programs and you’ll have to fast forward through them, as he comes on in the 2nd hour each time, or you can listen to my podcast here, which links the index. Martin’s feature is Episode #85, and consists of less music than the radio show and is ONLY the edit of the first interview. We also discuss the film “Sound and Chaos: The Story Of BC Studio,” a documentary made in 2014 about Martin and the recording studio. This doc is available on DVD and digital download.

Martin Bisi BC35 Tour Dates Diego Ferri Oliver Rivera Drew

Congrats to Martin on his “success” – I say in quotes because the man has  been a vital pillar in the NY underground music scene for the better part of 4 decades, so success is a weird term to use. Many haven’t made it as far, so it’s more about his commitment and longevity. He never seems to get burnt out. Check out the BC 35 collection – it’s available through Bronson Recordings. I hope you’ll check out the podcast or shows posted above, and if you are in Europe, he is currently touring there now! Here is Martin’s Facebook page, as I just realized the text here for Euro dates is too small to read and the image on his page better!

FEA Interview – San Antonio Riot Grrrl Throwback!

I was so happy to make the acquaintance of the lovely folks in FEA – a San Antonio based band, who I first learned about from Trish and George of MyDolls, who championed them, and I knew Lori Barbero of Babes In Toyland produced them, so it was a wonderful coincidence that they were on tour with Agent Orange and I made it my business to say hello!

The performance was a blast, they are full of energy and FUN! The YouTube video above has a string of photos of them as background, please listen to the interview!

 

Gimme Radio – LIFER – Playlist #1

I’ll be chronicling my experiences on GIMMEradio, a streaming station – a dotcom, as well as an app. They are a metal/extreme station, and I’m really enjoying doing a show there. It’s radically different from doing a program on FM, and a ton of fun! My program is called LIFER! Check it out, it’s all me, and easy to do because I suppose I’m just a metal gal at heart. LIFER airs every other Friday night from 7-9pm ET. Here are some recollections from my first program…

I opened the show with WE ROCK by Dio, yay! This was refreshing and freeing to play. I have played Dio in the past, but those moments are rare. He is one of my favorite vocalists, I love his imagery and the booming voice that came out of the man that stood around 5′ tall.

I have a great memory of seeing him open for Maiden at MSG, with Motorhead in the opening 30 minute slot. It was such a surreal night. It was as if everyone I knew was there, it was like CBGBs had turned into the size of Madison Square Garden, everywhere I turned another face, whether a recent friend or a long lost acquaintance was there! Motorhead were good, and although Mickey Dee is/was a great and legendary drummer it always pissed me off that no matter where they played or how long their set was, that he needed a solo every show. This was no exception – they played for 30 minutes and it felt like 10 of them were his solo. He’s as flashy as they come – and competent for sure, I just don’t ever feel that Motorhead needs solos!   So I was annoyed because his solo could have been another Motorhead song. When Dio came out, he opened with The Last in Line, and I swear to you, you could hear the garden hold it’s breath right as he went into the word HOME… you gotta know the song, but I would guess it’s a strain for a singer, and he chose it as his first song, what balls.  For me there’s a ton of conviction in his voice, if we’re evil, or divine, his voice just rules. He, of course, pulled it off – to thunderous applause, I felt a sigh of relief go through MSG. THIS is why I opened my first program with We Rock (I felt it was a better song to open my show to), he’s made such an impact on the metal world and was so incredibly talented!

Also in my first show was Mastodon , I know I’m not surprising people with this choice BUT- I got to play AUNT LISA by them, my favorite song off Once More ‘Round The Sun! It’s got a chorus that’s got enough profanity to get an FCC regulated station shut down, so I never aired it on FM, it was wonderful to be able to finally play it for an audience! Other bands, Hail of Bullets, Witchery, Kylesa, UDO, Anaal Nathrakh, Obituary, Saviours, God Dethroned, and of course, Voivod!

On LIFER, my Voivod pledge (to play them on every show) stands! I’ll continue that tradition forever! I could rant forever, but will save ya’ll for now. Here’s the GimmeRadio info: The station itself, and the link to LIFER!  

Welcome to my HOME!

I’m Diane Farris, ROCKER FOR LIFE! I’ve been on the radio, working at clubs, conducting interviews, engineering, performing, and doing art for most of my life! This is a landing page for an index of all of my creative efforts!