Sunday, December 6, 2009
BANDS OF BROTHERS
Almost nap time then button show then getting geared for playing all Bee Gees tonite at FEELINGS, so into playing them in a public place hearing it all around in a social setting affecting moods and hopefully turning people on in the process.
I love brother bands. In my collection the artists I have the most records of are by the Bee Gees, the Beach Boys, and Sparks. The connection of blood to make music, it can be very strong. The Gibbs would be walking down the street, one would start singing a line and another would finish: that connection.
My oldest brother Frank turned me on to a lot of music as a boy. It's funny, he's never online so he won't read this, but he once made a tape for me that influenced me sooo much, especially in regards to two songs that I put up there with Cocktails for Two and They're Coming to take Me Away Ha Ha in terms of personal influence. These two songs are Crazy train and Unchained. They have an energy, a crackle, dynamics, personality, performance, production, neat sounds, an immediacy, and a sense of playfulness that I was drawn to (the following are live examples so are missing some of those details but you know what I mean):
I'm sure what drew my brother to it were the guitars (it's Randy Rhoads' birthday today, I should note). My brother is a great hard rock guitarist. After being so involved in the rodeo circuit as a teen, he then grew his hair out and proceeded to practice practice practice the guitar. Then moving to Vancouver and touring touring touring, a van with dirty polaroids stuck everywhere, lotsa stripper girlfriends. A hard rock Stones trib called STIKKY FINGERS- yup, two k's! Another band called Aces High. Vancouver-based Beauty Kills seemed poised to go somewhere, always playing the local metal bar Club Soda, an unknown Alice In Chains even opened for them once.
Eventually he put the guitar away.
Later I'd get him out to play sporadically in July Fourth Toilet.
He started playing again in another band as well.
When July Fourth Toilet started planning our second album I wanted him on it!
I wanted to play with my brother!
Annnd for all his amazing talent, he's never cut a vinyl LP!
Just got a nice review from a reputable psych site in England that spotlights his and Julian's guitar playing on our record!! Yeaahhhh!
Or just read here:
Riding their truck through a cornucopia of styles, the oddly named July Fourth Toilet are a force to be reckoned with on theirs album "Balls Boogie", a disc that has stoned running through its centre, clear as a stick of cannabis flavoured rock. After a ramshackle, but oddly compelling version of "Me and Bobby McGee", the band suddenly shift into hard rock biker boogie mode, as "Hard Working Man" roars out of the speakers, a full on rock guitar solo adding to the wonder, as does a nice change of pace in the middle, bring it on and turn it up. The hard rock then continues with the heavy stomp of "Kentucky Whore", more guitar histrionics included, as the song winds up the energy. Next up, another change of style as the sad country ballad of "Stoned on You" sparks up a fat one, seemingly the story of a man who’s woman has left him, it is a bit of a surprise to find out she is in prison for murdering someone, a nice twist that is complemented by more fine guitar playing and a solid backbeat. Following the tale of "Armwrestle John", more heavy rock with over the top vocals and moody guitar riffs, the first side finished off with the boogie of "Name on the Door", everything turned up nice and loud. So far so good, then you turn the album over to be greeted with "Thanks Drugs" a song that pays homage to recreational drug use, opening with the lines "Been distorting time and space again", the ever versatile guitarist dropping into west coast mode, without missing a beat. After this things get re-wired, the band turning into early Floyd with the psychedelic jam, strange noises, twisted dementia and general sonic weirdness of the next four tracks sounding like nothing on side one, the band proving themselves adept as this side of thing as well. To end, the happiness and joy of "Cute Little Baby" is tempered by a gnawing fear of what the future may hold, ending an album that is schizophrenic, slightly paranoid, happy drunk, stoned and laughing. The makings of a good night perhaps.
I wish I knew how to post an MP3 to listen to, go to:
www.myspace.com/julyfourthtoilet I guess
And you can order it or find where to buy it here:
And here's a pic of me and my brother Frank Ackerman playing it: