Sunday 18 February 2024

The Earls of Suave by Bal Croce.


The Earls of Suave were created by accident, I had no plans on having a band as I was pretty busy running my video shop in London’s Camden Market.

At the weekends me and my partner in the shop Mike Delanian (bass player with Gallon Drunk) would head to the pub at lunchtime with whoever had dropped into the shop, but because of the popularity of the Market, pretty much every pub from Mornington Crescent to Chalk Farm would be absolutely jam packed full and it would take for ever to get served. We tried loads of pubs, but with no luck.

Then one fateful day we braved a rather seedy looking pub on the corner of Inverness Street and Arlington Road, the Good Mixer. Arlington Road was dominated by this massive Dickensian doss house for the down and outs, and a hard core of these residents would head next door to the Good Mixer and drink themselves silly until closing time, then crash out in their doss house next door before repeating the exercise all over again the next day. As a consequence the Good Mixer hardly had anyone in it other than a dozen scuzzy alcoholics. We walked in across the almost black sticky carpet to the bar where we served straight away, sensation! The embossed red velvet bamboo wallpaper with a gold background impressed me. There was a guy with one leg in a wheel chair trying to get into the toilet, but his chair was too wide. I watched as he repeatedly rammed his chair into the door frame until he pissed himself in the chair and rolled himself back to the bar to order another drink, nice!

However there was a pool table that no one was using and on an inspection of the jukebox revealed a wealth of Elvis, Tom Jones and Dean Martin discs. We started to frequent this pub all the time befriending the lovely Irish couple who ran it Mick and his wife Pat. They let us bring more cool records in and added them to the jukebox. The place became my second home and tons of people from bands I was friendly with started drinking there too, Johnny who was at the time in the Headcoats, Miki from Lush, all of Gallon Drunk, Bobby Gillespie, Andy Hurt from Food records etc.

One evening there was a bunch of us boozing away and I had just got a round in for 6 or 7 people (which was expensive) and I said ‘you play guitar, you play bass, you play drums, I can be the singer and we can play here and get some free beer” and so the Earls of Suave were born.
Mike had a great gold lamé suit, which he didn’t have the nerve to go out in, so I appropriate it, worked out a set list of the stuff I was digging at the time and we were off and running.
Nicking the name from a Billy Childish song, I just needed to work out who was going to be in the band.

The original line up was Mark (from the Sting-Rays and Ug and the Cavemen) on guitar, Johnny who was really Trash Royalty having played in the Cannibals, the Vibes and Purple Things and the Headcoats on a second guitar. I had quite recently met Max who I had suggested as a drummer for Gallon Drunk, but I knew he played piano too, he was up for it and on bass I had Paul, who had been in the original line up of Gallon Drunk, but at the time was bandless. The original drummer was Bruce Brand who was in the Milkshakes and then a Headcoat. But he dropped out and we briefly had Brian Nevill, followed by Debbie Green (X-Men, Headcoatees). Finally we had Joe Whitney on drums who had played drums with the Sting-Rays when Alec moved to guitar.

Everything fell into place, Roger Armstrong (who was a director at Ace records and Big Beat) and Nick Garrard (Nigel Lewis and the Milkshakes manager) had started Camden Town Records and had just released a single by Dave Vanian and his Phantom Chords. They offered to release a single by us.

We recorded this first single of Sandford Clak’s A Cheat b/w Charlie Rich’s Who Will The Next Fool Be? at Toe Rag studio (It was the first record released that was recorded there).


We did play lots of gigs at the Good Mixer and did get lots of free beers (don’t you love it when a plan pans out) but we also gigged quite regularly at other venues, playing with the Cramps, El Vez,  Suede, Johnny Legend and a lot of gigs with Dave Vanian’s Phantom Chords.
A second single of Screaming Jay Hawkins’ In My Dreams and Oscar Brown Jnr’s Somebody Buy Me A Drink.

We then returned to Toe Rag to record the LP you should now hold in your hands, 17 tracks of love, heartbreak, drinking and imprisonment.

Sadly all good things must come to an end and work commitments and the start of my marriage made me decide to knock gigging on the head.

However Max took the band, became the frontman, renaming them The Flaming Stars and they continued a highly successful career, with many singles and LP’s.

Starting as a drunken idea in a pub The Earls of Suave snowballed into a great band, we always had great fun playing, as did the audience watching us (with the possible exception of the French audience of our final gig which I was a tad inebriated, and did the last number bollock naked with a cardboard box on my head!). Suave or what?......

Sunday 28 January 2024

The Sting Rays covers, Part 2 by Bal Croce.



Cat Man - Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps

When Nick Garrard came up with the concept of the Rockabilly Psychosis LP, including the old tracks by the Phantom, the Novas etc, were obvious but who would Big Beat choose for the more contemporary bands?
Fortunately for us, they asked us to contribute a track. We put our heads together and decided to take a crack at this great Gene Vincent song. We had always loved it.

Gene and the boys cut their first two LP’s in 1957, just four months apart. Cat Man appeared on the second and stands out as a bit different from most of his other songs. Most of Gene’s repertoire consists of really fast screaming rockers (often with up to three guitar breaks, showcasing the wizardry of their great guitarist Cliff Gallup) or lovely ballads.

Cat Man was this weird spooky mid tempo shuffle with Dickie ‘Be Bop’ Harrell using brushes and a discordant jittery guitar. We felt it fitted right in to the Rockabilly Psychosis vibe. I don’t think we ever did it live. It was recorded at Pathway (where we did all our early stuff 1st EP, Bananamen, Cats Ain’t Nothing….) and was the last studio appearance of our original bassist Keith ‘MK’ Cockburn.


Panic - Reparata and the Delrons

One of the great advantages of being signed to Ace/Big Beat was they had so many labels releasing all types of cool music. One of their subsidiaries was a label called Kent, reissuing great American 60’s soul.
Alec and I got really into soul. The stuff was predominantly compiled by collector/dealer/DJ Ady Croasdell, a really nice guy (we used to go down to his Northern Soul all-nighters at the 100 club, and Alec later ended up running the cloakroom there, after Shane MacGowan gave the job up for fame and fortune with The Pogues). Panic was one of the classic Northern Soul songs that we discovered and it was in our set around the time we did our first live LP.
Reparata and the Delrons were a white all girl group. They started at a New York, Catholic girls school in 1962. The line up would changed with head spinning regularity and the act would recorded for a dizzying array of labels including Laurie, RCA and Kapp. Their first release was in 1964 they carried recording material right through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Panic was the b side of their 13th single released in the U.S. on Mala records. Alec came across it on an LP called Casino Classics.
Ady originally hailed from the town of Market Harborough (he wrote the sleeve notes for the Kent records releases under the non de plume Harboro Horrace). He booked the Sting-Rays into a gig in his old home town, which I remember ended in a massive punch-up! Sorry about that Ady.


I’m Rowed Out - the Eyes

The Eyes started out life in their native Ealing (West London) as typical suburban British beat boys, firstly as instrumental group the Renegades, then adding a singer and continuing as Dave Russell & the Renegades, then the Heartbeats. But by 1965 with the advent of the Who and mod culture they togged themselves out in pink parkas (with scooter tire marks down the back) and weird rugby shirts with massive eye logos on the front and relaunched themselves as the Eyes (the rugby shirts always made us laugh, as we associated those with the hooray henrys we knew at school - “with your rugby shirts you all look f*****g stuffed” copyright Croce/Palao). But more importantly they wrote some cracking good tunes (check out When The Night Falls, You’re Too Much and My Degeneration). They were signed to Mercury and created a real buzz around the clubs in London.
Sadly fame eluded them and after three singles (and an EP with a great picture sleeve), they just had time to pocket £180 to record an LP of Rolling Stones material, which came out on the budget Wing label A Tribute To The Rolling Stones by The Pupils.
We covered the B Side of their first single which was I’m Rowed Out. It’s got a great opening lyric “You’ve got a grey suede coat and a soul like fire”!


Inside Looking Out - The Animals

The Animals were of course one of the biggest British Beat bands, scoring number one hits both here and in the U.S. Following in the wake of the Beatles they were in the vanguard of the British Invasion of the U.S. charts.
Hailing from Newcastle they quickly established themselves as one of the hottest local bands, so in 1964 moved down to London and were signed and immediately enjoyed major chart hits such as We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and of course House of the Rising Sun. Eric Burdon possessed one of the most powerful voices on the scene at the time. Other band members such as Chas Chandler, Alan Price would go on to form their own successful bands and in Chandler’s case bring Jimi Hendrix to the UK and manage him and later on Slade!
We rehearsed the Animals track I’m Crying but I don’t think Alec thought our version was up to scratch, so we never played it live. But later he proposed we try Inside Looking Out, which we did play live (it is also on our first live album Live Retaliation).


Double Decker Bus - The Count Five

The last couple of songs are not stuff we covered, but inspirational starting points for our first two singles. As Alec was quoted in the sleeve notes for the Klub Foot CD, on how he wrote songs “I’d find a song I really liked and try to figure it out and learn it, and in the process of doing that I’d come up with some weird combination of things that together made something original”.
In the case of Alec’s composition of our first single Escalator it was the Count Five’s Double Decker Bus.
The Count Five were another way cool 60’s garage band whose sole hit was the great Psychotic Reaction (which we covered and recorded - as a bonus Bananamen track). They (like pretty much every garage band) were huge fans of the British invasion bands. On their 1966 album they included this ode to London’s iconic route master bus, the band formed in San Jose, California in 1964 and signed to the L.A. Double Shot label. They had a great look sporting boss Beatles mop tops and wearing cool black capes! Shortly after we released Escalator, the Vibes (who played with us a lot at that time) started to do Double Decker Bus live, Alec wasn’t too happy!


Feelin’ Lost - The Rationals

For the blast off for our second single Don’t Break Down, Alec was inspired by the 1966 single of Michigan’s Rationals ‘Feelin’ Lost’.
The Rationals never really broke nationally (they had one single creep into the bottom end of the top 100 in late 1966), but were really hot in their local state of Michigan, where they had a rabid following for their great live sets, and classy and unique discs.
They gigged extensively, appearing on local tv and radio and releasing a large selection of discs on a variety of labels including stints signed to Cameo and Capitol.
Despite the lack of chart success, their popularity and local fame kept the band gigging until late 1970.

Time Is After You The Peanut Butter Conspiracy

Alec was a a real fiend for the West Coast 60’s Psych Scene ( he eventually moved there and producing a fanzine on the scene and compiled a whole stack of CD’s charting the bands and labels).
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy (like the Byrds) crossed over from the folk circuit to the flourishing psychedelic rock scene. They were produced by legendary producer Gary Usher who also worked with the Beach Boys, the Byrds and Dick Dale. Time Is After You comes from their second LP The Great Conspiracy, although an earlier more garage-y version was released as single in May 1967. They also went on to record music for some biker movies and Russ Meyer’s Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls!
Weirdly the song’s format adapted really well for our sound and it became a fave with the Klub Foot crowd.


 Down On Me - Big Brother and the Holding Company

Big Brother were one of the top bands on the West Coast Psychedlic rock scene. Initially they were an instrumental act, playing as the house band at the legendary Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. They decided they wanted a singer, but it had to be someone with real power who could compete with their heavy sound.
In Texas a young Janis Joplin was hanging out with the 13th Floor Elevators. Word of her powerful full throated blues style reached San Francisco and she was invited to audition for the post by the band’s first manager, Chet Helms of the Family Dog. It was a marriage made in rock and roll heaven and soon they were blowing away audiences across the country, including a legendary appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Down On Me was their second single released in 1967.
Musical differences, poor management, probably drug fuelled disputes and financial squabbles split the band up. They later reformed without Janis, who proceeded as a solo act until a heroin overdose terminated her career in 1970.
We included it in our live act around the second year of playing, and thrashed through a take of it at the tail end of a session at Pathway studios. It turned up on the vinyl retrospective Big Beat released in 1987 ‘The Essential Sting-Rays. Ironically, Big Brother’s bass player Peter Albin is now Alec’s neighbour (and yes, he has heard our version!).


Loose Lips Sync Ships - The Hogs (aka The Chocolate Watchband)

The CWB were formed in 1965 in the south of the San Francisco Bay area, by a bunch of guys who had all played in a variety of blues and rock and roll bands. The name was originally chosen as a bit of a joke but it grew on them and they stuck with it. They were playing a lot of British Invasion type sounds, and were particularly influenced by the Kinks and the Rolling Stones (later their punky, snarly,  bluesy rock and roll sound had the Watchband often cited as the American Rolling Stones).

They quickly started becoming popular in the Bay Area, but there were a lot of early line-up changes and even a temporary hiatus when a couple of guys swapped to another band. It was not until the spring of 1966 that original line up member, guitarist Mark Loomis revived the name the Chocolate Watchband and recruited Bill Flores, bass (of the Shandells, who they had both been playing with) and Gary Andrijasevich on drums, Sean Tolby on second guitar and David Aguilar on vocals. They were red hot and soon started getting loads of gigs and offers. The band signed with Green Grass  Productions in LA ran by Ed Cobb and Ray Harris, who in turn  got them on Tower Records.

It was whilst they were recording material for their first Tower album in late 1966 that Harris came to the studio with a copy of Davie Allen and the Arrows fuzz drenched classic Blues Theme (which had been recorded as the theme tune for the forthcoming Roger Corman biker flick the Wild Angels). Harris had heard it wasn’t going to be released as a single (just included on the Wild Angels soundtrack LP). He thought it was a hit and got the boys to learn and record it, there and then. Once this had been achieved they needed a b-side Dave Aguilar told Alec in an interview conducted for his magazine Cream Puff War “…we took a break, figured something out, came back and just jammed through it”
And so Loose Lip Sync Ship was born. Alec loved it’s off the wall weirdness, it’s cool minor key ethereal sound and it’s disjointed middle and end sections.
Harris and Cobb didn’t take the single to Tower but to Hanna Barbera records (an off-shoot of the cartoon company). It was released as  by “the Hogs” (because of the bands Tower deal). A “hog” being biker’s slang for a motorbike. Sadly it wasn’t a smash hit but if it had been that could have been a bit awkward. So the Chocolate Watch Band could get on with their day job of being the Chocolate Watchband!
We used to open with Loose Lips in the early days and later recorded our version for the b-side of our first single Escalator (along with an instrumental version of Escalator). I am pretty sure the a-side was recorded at a studio in Camden Town but the two b-side instrumentals were done at our favourite studio Pathway.
Ironically many moons later when Alec actually played with the CWB they rehearsed ‘Loose Lip’ but couldn’t get it to work!


Psycho - The Sonics

The Sonics probably need no introduction here. Their shit kicking, no nonsense stomp made them a big favourite of the ‘Rays.
From Tacoma, in Washington State, they originally formed in 1960, but went through a myriad of members until their definitive line up came together in 1964 with keyboard player Gerry Roslie tackling vocal duties with his screaming, fog horn delivery.
They released the Witch in in 64 and followed that with Psycho the following year. They initially recorded 3 LP’s in the early Sixties but later reformed and continued to record and gig over the years.
We rehearsed some Sonics stuff but never got around to playing any live until a tour of Europe in 1986 found us in Switzerland. Playing on a stage made up of two barn doors balanced on beer crates we belted out Psycho and tried to copy the antics of the Beatles in 1960’s Kaiser Keller; where they had a competition with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes as to who could stomp a hole in the stage first. The Hurricanes won!


I Can Only Give You Everything - Them

Belfast’s Them came together to to play a residency at the Maritime Hotel in Belfast in 1964. Previously Van Morrison had sung with a band called the Golden Eagles, and the new group he joined had been called the Gamblers, but switched to the moniker of Them (inspired by the 1954 horror/sci-fi movie of that name featuring giant killer ants!).
They recorded some monster garage anthems including Van’s Gloria, a definitive version of the blues classic Baby Please Don’t Go and I Can Only Give You Everything. All of which were covered by a multitude of U.S. garage and U.K. beat bands.
Whilst Van was (and is) an accomplished song writer he was happy to record stuff by other people as long as he thought it was up to standard, As was the case with I Can Only Give You Everything, brought to him by the producer of Them’s 2nd LP (Them Again), Tommy Scott who had co written it with Mike Coulter.
The Sting-Rays loved Them but as far as I remember we only played I Can Only Give You Everything once live, at a gig at Gossips in Soho, run by Creation’s Alan McGee; we were supporting the Pogues. It was after Keith had left and we were searching for a new permanent bass player. At this particular gig Alec switched from drums to a play a fretless electric bass, Tom Cullinan who at that time was the drummer for the X-Men, sat in on the skins.


So You Say You Lost Your Baby - Gene Clark

Alec really started pushing the envelope with his choice of songs we covered once he moved from drums to playing guitar with the ‘Rays. Around 1987 we incorporated Gene Clark’s So You Say You Lost Your Baby into our live set.
Gene was born dirt poor in Tipton Missouri in 1944. His dad was a musician and taught him harmonica and guitar, Gene was soon writing songs and performing locally. He cut his first single at the age of 14 and by his 18th birthday he was spotted by members of the New Christy Minstrels, who were riding high on the folk scene; they asked him to join them. Very popular at the time the New Christy Minstrels were a frankly a cheesy, clean cut folk novelty act doing stuff like 3 Wheels On My Wagon. He joined and recorded and performed with them for a while but eventually left them and moved to L.A. where he pursued his own vision of a band.
Combining the influence of his folk roots, and the new emerging popularity of the Beatles and Bob Dylan, Gene formed the amazing Byrds. They soon found massive success with hits like Bob Dylan’s Mr Tamborine Man and Gene’s penned I Feel A Whole Lot Better and Eight Miles High.
However tensions developed within the group, as Gene had written so much of their material he was getting more money than other members and they fell out with each other. So he went on to a solo career, the first LP from which this track comes from. Despite his prodigious talent he never really found  success as a solo artist.


They Walked In Line - Warsaw

I always maintained the ‘Rays were a punk band, we were just the right age to be part of the punk scene, and we all had stuff like the Buzzcocks, the Sex Pistols and Dirk Wears White Socks era Adam and the Ants records in our collection. I then argued that Rockabilly was the first wave of punk and 60’s garage punk the second, and that was what we were about, the punk DIY ethos very much a part of who we were.
So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise when we started playing Warsaw’s They Walked In Line as part of our live set.
Warsaw formed in Salford in 1976 after a bunch of mates witnessed the Sex Pistols playing live at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall. They recorded an early LP for RCA but were dissatisfied with it and never released it, and bought themselves out of the contract. They then released a self financed EP which brought them to the attention of Factory Records Tony Wilson, who signed them up.
Changing their name to Joy Division (as there was a London based band called Warsaw Pakt). They went on to become really popular, and at the vanguard of the whole Manchester scene
Sadly their lead singer Ian Curtis suffered epilepsy and depression and with the additional problems of a complicated love life he sadly took his own life in 1980. The rest of the band regrouped as New Order.

Sunday 14 January 2024

The Sting Rays, What they covered tune wise ! By Bal Croce.


1. Theme from Stingray - Barry Gray Orchestra

When we were planning to start a band the name was really important, and we spent weeks endlessly trying different monikers.

The Gerry Anderson puppet TV show Stingray (along with Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet etc.) had been a childhood fave for all of us, and so the name the Sting-Rays was finally agreed upon.

 The classically-trained musician Barry Gray was hired as an in-house composer for Gerry Anderson’s AP films, working on a variety of puppet shows for television that developed into the Fireball XL5, Stingray and Thunderbirds franchise. Barry wrote and recorded all of the theme tunes.

Stingray was first aired in 1964 and ran for 39 episodes.

We opened with the theme for a few shows very early on, and part of it appears backwards on our first E.P.

2. Drive-In Movie - Mickey Gilley

 ‘Drive-In Movie’ was written by Ron Hargrave, who had a deal with MGM working on films and making records. He recorded the original version.

Mickey Gilley grew up in Ferriday, Louisiana, alongside his cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart (later an infamous TV evangelist). When Jerry found fame with hits on Sun records Mickey, who had grown up playing piano with Jerry Lee, decided he’d have a crack at rock’n’roll stardom. He recorded a handful of singles (including ‘Drive-In Movie’) for a variety of obscure labels in the 50’s and early 60’s. Gilley later found fame as a country artist and successful nightclub owner.

It was his faster and more driving version from 1961 that inspired us to cover this great song.

 3. Psychotic Reaction - Count Five

In 1965, a group of guys from San Jose, California worked up a song idea based on a lecture one of them had attended in their health education class, on psychosis.

They had formed a band called the Squires, who were to become Count Five. Under that name, they recorded it for a newly-formed label, Double Shot. Released in the summer of 1966 at the height of the fuzz guitar craze (such as the Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’), the record clicked and became a hit.

It was always a fave on our turntables, and we included the song on our very first studio demo in early 1982. Later, we recorded a version at the tail end of our ‘Escalator’ recording session. It was released on the first Blood On the Cats compilation, credited to the Bananamen.

 4. You’re Gonna Miss Me - The Spades

This timeless classic was written by a 15-year old genius from Austin, Texas – Roger “Roky” Erickson. He first recorded it in 1965 with his early band the Spades for the cool Zero label (which is the version we include here). Two other local musicians thought Roky was great and they persuaded him to join their band, and the new ensemble was christened the 13th Floor Elevators. They re-recorded ‘You're Gonna Miss Me’ with the new line up (including Tommy Hall playing an amplified jug) for the Contact label in early 1966. The single was picked up a few months later by International Artists, who gave it a nationwide release. Reaching number 55 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1966, it was their only hit.

Like ‘Psychotic Reaction,’ we all knew ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ from its inclusion on Nuggets. Our mate Ski had painted the sleeve of the Elevators first LP on his bedroom ceiling, and we used that as the background for the photo shoot for our first EP sleeve, which included our cover of this great piece of Texan garage.

5. Blue Girl - The Bad Roads

After Alec started raving over 60’s garage music when he discovered Lenny Kaye’s original Nuggets compilation, our next stop was Greg Shaw’s Pebbles compilations of cool 60’s garage. These feature thousands of classic tunes, but on Volume 9 we came across the fuzz-drenched classic ‘Blue Girl.’

The Bad Roads were from Lake Charles, Louisiana, and grew up digging New Orleans-type music. In 1965 the members had formed an instrumental band called the Avengers, but with the advent of the British Invasion - and particularly for them, the Rolling Stones - they added a singer and renamed themselves the Bad Roads (after the Duane Eddy hit ‘Forty Miles of Bad Road,’ cool cats indeed).

They cut ‘Blue Girl’ in August 1966, which was released on Floyd Soileau’s Jin label (which otherwise featured Cajun music). It was a local hit but didn’t cross over into the national charts.

6. I Want My Woman - The Emperors

Alec came across this killer track on the International Artists anthology Epitaph for a Legend - which was a bit weird because they actually hailed from Long Beach, California! (turns out it was on that comp because it was produced by Texan garage guru Lelan Rogers, brother of Kenny, who worked for International Artists).

They cut a couple of singles before nailing this totally boss tune as the B-side to their fourth single, released on the obscure Sabra label in 1965.

They looked really cool too, all sporting peroxide blonde Beatles mop tops.

7. The Cat - Rod Willis

Our guitarist Mark had a younger brother, Tim (who would later play bass in the X-Men), and a couple of his mates from school ran a little record hop in the Wolsey Tavern in Kentish Town, which we would often go to. One night they spun ‘The Cat,’ and we were all so knocked out, we immediately decided to cover it (along with the aforementioned ‘I Want My Woman’) for a forthcoming Big Beat compilation These Cats Ain’t Nothing But Trash – this was before our first EP had even come out.

Rodney Earl Willis was born in Milton, Florida in 1934. After high school he served in the US Marine Corps. A keen music fan on his return to civilian life, he signed to Chic Thompson’s Chic label and recorded a couple of singles written by Thompson to little acclaim. His third and final release ‘The Cat’ (also penned by Thompson) appeared on the NRC label, with which Thompson had merged. It did little business.

Rod married, had a family of five kids and left the music business behind to work in local government, he died in June 2013.

(thanks to John Marcus, of Sting-Rays support act the Huns, for his research on Rod’s story).

8.Wedding Ring - The Easybeats

We all loved Antipodean rock’n’roll (Johnny O’Keefe a fave), but it was from The Easybeats’ catalogue that Alec plucked ‘Wedding Ring’ as a B-side to our ‘June Rhyme’ 12” single.

The Easybeats became one of the biggest and most successful bands of the mid-1960s from Australia, despite all of them having emigrated there from Europe: three from the UK, two from the Netherlands. They wrote and recorded their own material, and were almost as big as the Beatles downunder.

‘Wedding Ring’ was their third single, released in 1965, and doing well in their home charts. The band went on to have a worldwide best seller with ‘Friday On My Mind,’ recorded in London and produced by the legendary Shel Talmy (whom Alec now works with).


9. What More Can I Do - The Zombies

 Alec’s musical obsessions are as diverse and multifarious as anyone’s. From Jonathan Richman to the Byrds, Creedence to the Mystery Trend, but perhaps one of his overarching passions has always been the Zombies.

The Zombies were still at school when they first got together, based in St. Albans (not a million miles where we were all at school together).  After winning the “Herts Beat” competition, they secured a deal with Decca Records and their first single, ‘She’s Not There,’ became a huge international hit (reaching number 2 on the U.S. top 100). They toured the UK and the US, where they appeared on TV shows like Hullabaloo.

Sadly, at the time none of their subsequent records lived up to the chart success of ‘She’s Not There,’ but they continued to tour and record, releasing singles and two albums. They switched CBS later in their career, but ironically, the band enjoyed another huge chart success with ‘Time Of The Season,’ which topped the US charts in March 1969 - a year after they had split up.

Alec later compiled, curated and wrote the extensive sleeve notes for a fantastic overview CD box set of the Zombies, Zombie Heaven.

 We did this track live, and also made a demo of it at our fave studio Pathway, which remains unreleased.

10. How Much More? - Terry Knight & The Pack

Michigan-based Terry Knight started his career as a hip DJ and made many good show biz contacts. He really got into the sounds of the British Invasion, particularly that of the Stones. His next move was a plan hatched to emulate his heroes and cash in on some babes and beer by becoming the front man of a boss beat band.

Knight persuaded an established local band (the Jazz Masters) to let him re-launch their career with a new name, and himself as the lead singer. He rechristened them ‘The Pack,’ taking the name from the Shangri-La’s ‘Leader of the Pack’. They worked up a set of cool Stones-style rhythm and blues and rock ’n’ roll.

‘How Much More’ was the A side to their first Terry Knight & The Pack single. They issued a total of eleven 45s, and did a couple of LPs too, along with numerous TV appearances. The band evolved into Grand Funk Railroad.

We found ‘How Much More’ on a great garage sampler called The Chosen Few. Our own version was recorded for Mike Spenser’s compilation LP on his Hit Records label, Garage Goodies Volume One. It featured Mike on a raucous harmonica (the version on our later From The Kitchen Sink compilation is an alternative take without the harp).

 11. My Flash On You - Thee Sixpence

‘My Flash On You’ was originally written and performed by Arthur Lee and his band Love, a seminal and hugely influential L.A. based outfit at the cutting edge of the switch from gritty rock’n’roll flavoured garage to the more psychedelic, freaky change in the music scene taking place in the mid-60s. Arthur was a regular face in the clubs on Sunset Strip, describing himself as the first black hippie (he came from mixed Afro-American and Native American ancestry).

Alec loved Love, but it was when he heard the Thee Sixpence version of ‘Flash’ that he decided it could work as a Sting-Rays number.

Thee Sixpence were ‘neighbours’ of Love, coming out of Glendale, California. They covered ‘My Flash On You’ on the All American label in 1966. Shortly afterwards, most of the group morphed into the much more commercially successful Strawberry Alarm Clock in 1967.

Sadly, our recorded version on our first LP doesn’t really do the song justice.

12. Come On Kid - Kenny & the Kasuals

Garage music was always a huge influence on the Sting-Rays, and Texas seems to have had more than its fair share of great acts.

Kenny & the Kasuals were a Dallas-based band formed in 1964, digging the Brit Invasion sounds. Local hustler Mark Lee took over management duties, dressed them in suits and made them play Vox amps, just like the Beatles. He got them touring around the country and secured them support slots opening for the likes of the Stones, the Beach Boys and the Buckinghams.

There are great stories on their website involving hair-straightening disasters, hearse drag races with rival band the Chessmen, and being escorted out past the Houston City limits by the Texas Rangers.

Alec suggested we cover it for our appearance on Channel 4’s The Tube, great idea Alec. We had no bass player at the time, so Alec played a fretless bass (with great fuzz break), as well as drums on the recording.

 13. You Got A Hard Time Coming - The Remains

OK, I just said Texas had lots of outstanding bands, but Boston’s the Remains were a revelation when we grabbed the Eva reissue of their stuff in 1983 - we seldom had it off the turntable. Absolute killer band.

The Remains all met at university in Boston, where they rocked the socs sox off, becoming a hugely popular live act locally.

They were signed to Epic and tried to break into the big time by moving to New York, where they scored an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, but the big breakthrough didn’t happen, so they tried again, this time moving to the West Coast and appearing on the legendary 60’s music show Hullaballoo.

At last it looked like they might get that break when the Remains were chosen as one of the support acts on the Beatles’ last U.S. tour. But a change of drummer caused a rift in the band and they split soon after.

There is a video floating around of us doing this, taken from the filming of the Pretenders video (for ‘Middle of the Road’), where we appear briefly at the start. Chrissie even put us on the bill with them at the Hammersmith Odeon, bless her.

14. Satisfy You - The Seeds

 We are back to another of Alec’s obsessions: Sky Saxon’s band the Seeds. Now he’s ended up playing with them!

The Seeds formed in Hollywood in early 1965 when Sky relocated there from his native Salt Lake City, and having failed as a teen idol, put out an advert for some other guys to get a band together. They quickly worked up a set and started gigging, getting a rep as a great live act.

Their first single ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’ was a small local hit. The follow up, ‘Pushin’ Too Hard,’ after several months, eventually broke nationally in late 1966. The Seeds then became proper music stars, appearing on the NBC sitcom The Mothers-In-Law and the B-movie Psych-Out.

Their first two albums were strict garage; the third one in 1967 offered a more psychedelic groove. ‘Satisfy You’ comes from a fourth “live” LP which was much more back to their garage roots, and the song was released as a single too.

It was one of the four live tracks released on the first Stomping at the Klub Foot LP, while a studio demo was included on the retrospective The Essential Sting-Rays compilation.


The second part of this will appear mysteriously some time in the near future !

Sunday 1 October 2017

Trashylvania....The Party At Drac's Castle.

The 1st weekend of September (2017) saw a hundred or so dedicated Trash/Garage fans assemble in the small Romanian town of Bran for a very momentous occasion, the very first 'Rock' gig to ever be held in Bran Castle aka Dracula's Castle ! T'was the brainchild of Daz Trash of Thee Gravemen and organiser of the annual Munster Raving Loony party and what an event it was !

Spooky stuff.
Numbers of folk came from all over Europe by plane, car and train much to the surprise of the locals although I'm not quite sure just who were the more surprised to be honest, us or them ?  4 of us travelled to Bucarest, Romania from Gatwick in the UK, arriving at the absurd time of 3.30am before taking a train ride through the legendary Carpathian mountains to Brasov where the final leg to Bran was completed by a torturous taxi ride, torturous only in the sense that the taxi driver was very proud of his local music and insisted on subjecting us to it by constant channel hopping...Between the Polkas, the Electro and some particularly nasty Europop we were very, very relieved to arrive. The town of Bran really isn't very large, just one principal road but it does have a market square at the bottom of the castle grounds which has the most entertaining selection of Drac-Tat I've ever seen and a haunted house experience...As if being in the shadow of Vlad's country retreat wasn't enough.

A tired Mr Smith.
The first night basically involved taking over the terrace area of the 2 closest hotels where they kindly left us to ourselves to spin some tunes and drink the bar dry of their draft beer and all the vodka as folk on who'd arrived on later flights turned up with tales of horrifying taxi journeys...Road safety is not a top priority it must be said. What do you do when you go to your hotel room in Transylvania and find someone asleep in the middle of the day ?  Yeah, my thoughts exactly...Was going to stake him but it was Neil, one half of the demented Stay Sick duo from Brighton, although I did open the curtains to expose him to a bit of sunlight and he didn't spontaneously burst to into flames...One can never be too sure in this part of the world !  
We did the obligatory daytime tour of Drac's shack with all the official touristy stuff, the castle itself isn't a huge thing but it is very atmospheric, with lots of creaky stairs, narrow passages, suits of armour and a torture chamber !!!

Patrice P.
When the evening eventually kicked off there was a slight change to the running order of things as due to a bit of a cultural misunderstanding, The Sex Organs were asked by the castle director not to play, something to do with the idea of a 7ft penis and a 6ft fanny jumping around not being in the best of taste, although the spiked butt plugs in the public display and the idea of sticking an 8ft stake up someones arse is perfectly ok...Anyway, the evening was saved as Patrice Picard, long standing Cannibal (the group, not his dining habits) stood in for a few tunes and very good he was too.
The stage had been built in the courtyard of the castle, the lights had been set up and someone kindly switched on the smoke machine as the sun went down over the Carpathian mountains just as Patrice took to the stage...He kind of reminded me of Zacherley !

Hombre Lobo Internacional
After the short but sweet set by Patrice, the stage was changed and it was the turn of Hombre Lobo Internacional to wow us with his manic one man band and bloody hell...It sounded as if he had a full band up there with him ! Complete with a very cool Wolfman head piece, sound was awesome and the crowd was rockin', the highlight of his set for me personally  was his truly warped and demented take on The Isley Bros classic 'Shout'...Had me and the crowd with the opening bars and a bit of wolfy growl. For those of you that don't know him, he's from Spain, he has an a LP and a couple of EPs out and they are well worth getting your grubby paws on...Pure trashy R'n'R.....Loved it.

All hail DeadElvis !
Didn't have to wait long after HLI had finished for the next act, as he's a one man band too...Albeit unique in this world ! Yeah...The one and only DEADELVIS....drumroll.....Ah, this guy is amazing and had the crowd right where he wanted them. The Dead Dude Rocks for sure, his dispensing of pearls of wisdom and relationship advice between tunes was hilarious and the place heaved when those immortal words 'Papa Ooh Mow Mow' broke from his somewhat mouldy lips...I'm not giving too much away in terms of the songs as the whole event was recorded and will be released as an LP, hopefully in the coming months, needless to say though, they don't come much better in terms of out there craziness than DeadElvis ! And he did 'Leave The Castle'.......

Thee Gravemen.
Last up (Where did the time go ?) were Thee Gravemen and kudos to Daz for having organised everything...A blistering set with Lee pulling some gnarly riffs while Daz pounded out class voodoo rhythms on the drums and oh so appropriate. Many of the folk in the crowd had come in costume and it was a real gas to see Nosferatu digging the sounds while wolfman and Apeman were getting down, Vampires a Go Go and even a Basil Rathbone Van Helsing! Must be said though, some of them present didn't even need disguises !
Once Thee Gravemen had finshed up and everyone was ushered from the castle by Igor out into the castle grounds, the party continued well into the night...Almost 'til dawn as there were guest DJ's from all parts, including Neil from Stay Sick, Pete Slovenly and something, that by all accounts, looked like a Norwegian Mrs Brown (go check the posts on various social media sites).......A truly remarkable gig, in an incredible location. A once in a lifetime experience ?.....We'll just have to wait and see !      

Stay Sick Peeps.

Sunday 20 August 2017

Bonkers for Bontempi...


The 2006 release on Soundflat Recs.
It's curious but strangely reassuring, that even in todays clime of social media and Youtube etc that a personality such as Marcel Bontempi comes to the fore and generates (albiet limited)  a furore around a release, any release...Again, albeit limited and it hasn't slowed down over the last couple of years either. Having been 'adopted' by the 50's Rockin' crowd, fans of Americana Roots music and assorted folk who just dig 50's styled tunes that draw on the influences of Rockabilly & Western Swing in the main. This cat actually spent most of his performing years on the fringes of the Garage Punk circuits with his band The Montesas, a 60's Beat'Garage band that admittedly had a healthy dose of Rockabilly influence also, which isn't all that surprising considering some of his pre-Montesas recordings (all of which are super rare and equally expensive). As part of a Rockabilly trio, way back in the mid 90's Marcel was already writing his own material and playing guitar and the vocalist for 'Tijuana Tex & The Cowbones' covering the likes of Kip Tyler's 'She's My Witch' which appears on their sole vinyl EP.
In 1997, Marcel released his first solo 7" a hauntingly beautiful track called 'Deep Blue Sea' pre-dating Richard Hawley's trademark vocal stylings by a good 5-6 years...Well worth picking up if you ever see it and have a healthy bank balance !

Artwork for lost Migraine Recs release.
Sometime during late 2013, a bit of a disaster struck when the PC containg Marcel's archive recordings and recordings for upcoming releases suffered a major failure and the material stored on it was lost. With no back up saved and retrieval proving impossible, the tracks were gone. Among the lost recordings were the tracks 'No Club Lone Wolf' & 'Wolf Call' which were due to be released by the ever fine label Migraine Recs (Also home to the equally fine OHA Recs)...There were also a couple of other releases slated for around this time but the circumstances meant these would never see the light of day....Not in the form of the 'original' recordings anyway. The good news is that for the past couple of years, Marcel has been painstakingly re-recording the lost tracks, laying them down under the same conditions where possible, as the oriniginal recordings. So...The missing Migraine 7" will be coming out sometime in the not too distant future.

Out early Sept.
 And while we are on the subject...'Crawfish', the 7" released on OHA Recs a couple of months back !
That was crazy, our allocation at Trash Wax was sold out in a matter of minutes after mentioning we had copies available and the complete pressing run (only 250 copies) was gone in a matter of hours !
Good news is that Mr Bontempi is releasing a brand new track 'Bury All My Troubles' (co-written with the highly talented Paul Sheahan of The Sirocco Bros) with what is probably his most in demand track 'Dig A Hole' on the flipside. Released on his own label 'Twi Lite Recs' this 7" is already in high demand and probably sold out through the usual vendors BUT there will be copies available directly from Marcel on the day of the actual release sometime around the 2nd week of September and if that isn't enough for you ?  Fab label 'Stag 'O' Lee' in Germany will also be releasing a Bontempi 7" before the end of the year !  So keep your eyes peeled !

If you got this far down....Well done !

Shedload of cool slop, trash and rockin' nonsense as we like it here :

Stay Wild Peeps !


Thursday 20 October 2016

Trash Wax releases...Summer 2016.

Well, we've been bust bees and managed to get 3 LPs and a couple of singles out ! Taking into account the massive delays at the pressing plants, this is no mean feat ! First out of the traps was the vinyl release of Messer Chups latest album 'Spooky Hook' 16 tracks of blistering Rockabilly influenced Surf...A real Killer Diller of an LP, the 1st 100 copies were in red vinyl with 400 in standard black vinyl. Their sound has really taken on a more 'Rockabilly' feel to it on this than on previous releases but it's not a retro sound, Oleg's style of guitar play brings a broader scope to the overall sound and to my mind is quite brilliant...There really isn't anything quite like Messer Chups out there at present !
They also spent the whole of August touring the USA, this tour was long overdue and they've now a whole new bunch of fans, I think that they will be going back fairly soon...all reports that came back said it was a pretty sensational reception....Much deserved and as is only normal ! 

Next out was the Ltd LP (Just 300 copies) by Hamburg's stunning Trash duo, The Cheating Hearts and even if I say so myself, this is one blistering slice of our best so far, it was completely remastered in analogue by our good buddy Mondosean and bears little or resemblence to the CD release. There's no way you'd believe there are only two of them when you listen to this, all their own material too with not a cover version in sight...Love it !   Sleeve is great too, done by the Voodoo Scribbler himself Chris 'Sick' Moore....And as it says on the tin (Well, sleeve) it's 'Primitive Trash R'n'R ! ! !
Whatever you do, don't think that it's anything like the White pisses all over that....Go on, treat yourself while you still can !

The last chunk of vinyl we unleashed on an unsuspecting public was a bit of a showcase for Zombierella, an absolutely, stonkingly beautiful package (the LP, not the lady in question although she is too) a compilation on which every track features the vocal talents of Svetty, Messer Chups being a primarily instrumental band, these a far and few between normally...with a fantastic sleeve designed by New York based 'Solrac' and the 1st 100 copies coming on spattered vinyl reflecting the sleeve really is a piece of art of which I'm quite enamoured by.  Of the 16 tracks on the LP, 6 of them are taken from The Bonecollectors CD only release entitled Bone to Bone, this album was their foray into rockabilly without any surf...and features more of Zombierella's vocals.

Here's a video of The Bonecollectors for the track 'Swamp Farming' which doesn't appear of 'Voice of Zombierella'....(There are very few Spattered copies left 20.10.2016 and if you're reading this in 2017 ?...forget it).

The first of our 2 7" releases to appear was The Smoggers and Charm Bag split single although really it's not a split as it's the same guys...almost, Charm Bag is Fernando and Ana of The Smoggers playing a much more primitive style. If 60's Garage Punk is your thing, they currently don't come much better than Valencia (Spain) based The Smoggers who've 5 LPs and a whole bunch of singles out on European labels such as German garage stalwarts Soundflat...Snotty, scuzzy Farfisa and Fuzz is their philosophy. While their alter ego...Chram Bag give in to the primal sounds of The Gories, The Cramps, Link Wray and the dark side of The Birthday Party (I know which I prefere)....2 blinding tracks and the 1st 100 copies on Orange vinyl no less ! 

First 100 on Green vinyl !
And lastly but by no means least(ly) and this beauty only turned up yeasterday ! (19.10.16) is the party record of the year ! Oh! Gunquit....The toast of London and fun people extraordinaire. This is a heady mixture of Trashy Garage, Surfabilly and a serious party attitude, can't really label it per se but think very early Fleshtones mixed with a bit of Detroit Cobras and a dash of The Delmonas. Their 3rd 7" outing following on from last years Dirty Water album release.....1st 100 copies on a rather lovely shade of green !......You can hear the flipside here :

Now go and buy some records so we can put even more out (Please and Thank You)....There's a lot more to come !

You can get all the releases and a whole lot more very cool stuff from the website, just click on the link :

And if that's not enough ? You can head here where we've now got more than 1500 references up, most at reasonable prices too ! :

OK Folks, Have fun and remember......Stay Sick !

The ABC of The Cramps. A new Cramps tome (Book).

Will be translated on this blog.
It was a busy summer to say the least, lots of very cool stuff happening and many fine releases (including a couple worthy of note on our very own Trash Wax label....Shameless plug).

There was also the release of  THIS book, The ABC of The Cramps (Which I'll translate on this blog for you as it's in French). It's an absolute must have.....

Here's the idea of the book in Patrick B's own words :

After reading his fabulous book '100 Contes Rock', I became friendly with Patrick Cazengler.
He quickly told me that it’s cool to contribute to (TIN, LAIF, books, Howie Pyro’s exhibition, a clothes brand that asked me to help them develop a clothes collection inspired by The Cramps...) but that I gotta do my own stuff one day.

And after persisting, he came back with an idea and an editor.

This ABC book is our way to celebrate The Cramps genius.

Patrick interviewed me about people supposed to feature in this ABC book. We chose 13 (at one point I even invented a 27th letter!) names and invented stories for the other half of the alphabet.

So the book is composed of13 interviews (not exactly the 13 we chose at the beginning) and 13 stories. I had the idea to ask Tav Falco to write a preface and my wife wrote a postface. And Patrick C wrote the introduction, explaining the genesis of his idea.

A. for A-Bones – Miriam Linna
B. for Ben from Chicago, maybe the guy who got the largest collection of Cramps live recordings (well I know a certain C in LA too ...)
C. for Isabelle Chelley, who interviewed the Cramps for Rock’n’Folk magazine (Mianstream French music mag).
D. for Slim Gil Deluxe, wonderful artist – watch out his forthcoming book about “The Creatures FromThe Black Lagoon”.
E. for El Cramped: the story about the Cramps cover band we created recently.
F. for Alain Feydri,famous author (Cramps, Groovies, Kinks).
G. for Bryan Gregory: we went to unbury him for an interview...
H. for Lindsay Hutton. I’m proud to have this legend and wonderful human being in a Cramps book at last.
I. for I‘m Customized – Lux creating a girlfriend for his Chopper – Frankie Stine (hey Darren, ahahah).
J. for Michael Joswig, Cramps fan from: Germany who created one of the coolest site. Lux and Ivy liked him.
K. for Kogar the Swinging Ape: all you always wanna know about Lux & Ivy’s faves and more
L. for Jerry Lott aka The Phantom.
M. for Mike McEchron, interview based on his fantastic tourography.
N. for Napa Hospital: what were those special spectators thinking? when they saw this crazy show from 1978
O. like Roy Orbison. An adventure with The Big O & Lux.
P. like Howie Pyro, this guy befriended The Cramps since the beginning and organized an exhib in Los Angeles a couple of years ago.
Q. like Queen of Pain: both Patricks dressing in a drag to meet Lux.
R. like Dirk Roeyen from the Netherlands. His book “Subwire Desire” is one of the best source references.
S. as Sean, the guy behind “Trash Is Neat” (and one of my best friends).
T. as The World’s Greatest Sinner, Lux fave movie.
U. as Ubangi: Lux in zulu land.
V. as VipVop: VV was Lux nickname in the 70’s (the police would dress a fine only for reading this name!), a well known serie of tapes made by Lux and also a little fanzine of mine...
W. for Link Wray. Lux & Ivy meeting their hero.
X. as X-Ray Eyes: The Cramps did but never recorded a song about this Roger Corman movie.
Y. as Yseult La Pieuvre (octopus): a sea food party with Lux & Ivy in my living room.
Z. as Marc Zermati, of Skydogs records fame.This guy organized the Cramps 1st tour in France. (1980). He was in the car with Bryan. He also release a (fake) radio show hosted by Lux.

This was announced by the French music/media chain, The FNAC to have come out in September but has in fact only been available in the last couple of weeks (October, 2016)...It's well worth tracking down for the unique content & photos as well as the fact that it's just a brilliant perspective !

Here's a bit of taster in the form of anused interview with Miriam Linna by Dick Porter....

1 - My understanding is that you came to New York looking to establish yourself in journalism and had already had a number of pieces published in Creem when you were asked to join the Cramps for a second time (which I have as Sept 1976, the first time being a year prior). Is this so? How were these invitations to join put to you and what made you accept the second time and not the first?

I was 19 in the summer of 1975. For the exact date, you'd have to check that book called SHOTS FROM THE HIP- I don't own a copy, but I'm told that it has a reprint of an article where Charles Shaar Murray and Joe Stevens are at CBGB's and run into two girls from Cleveland- myself and sister Helen, and we gab about how Cleveland is the center of the universe. It was on that very weekend bus trip that Lux and Ivy came up to me and Helen at a Japanese fooderie on 6th Avenue called Chicken and Burger World in NYC to ask if we were from Ohio, that they recognized us from being at R&R shows there.
A few months ago, an old pen pal from those days came here to visit with a fist full of letters from those days, which she had stashed at her mom's house in Detroit. One of the letters was written right after that NYC visit, and in it, I wrote about meeting my heroes from NME and also a drummer-seeking couple from CALIFORNIA (this cracks me up): "Got asked to be a drummer in an AVANT GARD (sic) band, they want someone who's never touched a drum kit. These people say they're better than anyone, truly bizarre. Tux (sic) is 29 and Ivy like 26, both beautiful young college graduate Californians who finally want to get a band together in the big apple!" I go on to write that Stiv Bators and Gene have put together a band called Frankenstein that hasn't played out yet. Hope this helps with the date.

 2 - Your drumming is always cited as being influenced by Maureen Tucker – is this fair?
 I was/am a VU fan, sure, over the top. But I never tried to be Moe- to me, she was the ultimate- it would be ridiculous for me to think I could touch the hem of her garment. I had one so-called lesson, and that was from Tommy Ramone, who looked at my bloody blistered hands and said to keep doing what I'm doing and don't worry what people say. It was thrilling, years later, playing on the same bill (in the A-Bones) with Moe, and Sterling Morrison. Moe asked me to come to Georgia and play on her solo album DOGS UNDER STRESS. That was a high point in my eternally fledgling career.
3 - What are your memories of those early gigs - particularly the first show at CBGBs (which I have as supporting the Dead Boys - whereas this is usually cited as Suicide - which I have as the first Max's support), early gigs supporting the Ramones and your final headlining gig with the band at the same venue?
I have a letter from Stiv dated Oct 26, 1976 that says: "Guess who's playing with the Cramps Nov. 1? You got it! We play Max's the 31 and CBGB on the 1 & 2. Can't wait to hear you guys. It's gonna be great playing together. You know I always wanted to play with you." If you show Nov. 1 as the first show, then it was the Dead Boys on the bill. If you show something prior to that, then it may have been Suicide.
I moved to New York on July 4, 1976, in the midst of the bicentennial celebration. Fireworks and tall ships, the whole shebang. I stayed with Lux and Ivy first at their apartment at 322 East 73rd Street, and then found a place at 406 East 9th Street with Pam (Bryan's sister) and James Sliman, a great guy and good friend from Cleveland who also was at all the shows there- I hear he became a top publicist later on, with clients like Liv Tyler and Dodi Fayed. He took the very first Cramps photos (I have the proof sheet if you need pix).
Living in NYC was a challenge. That first year, I missed Ohio like crazy. I felt like a fish out of water, and I missed my friends there a lot. Then suddenly, they all started coming to New York to visit, and some to stay. I moved out the the 9th Street apartment when the Dead Boys moved in and it got way too crowded. I ended up on 12th Street with Lydia Lunch, who was a ton of fun and a wonderful girl. (I will stick with your questions, I'd have a massive segue right about here!!).
 4 - Why did you leave? What was your view of the band dynamic and how was your relationships with Ivy, Lux and Bryan?
The best of my Ohio friends died suddenly and things began to change. It was a very difficult summer in many, many respects. There was a lot going on otherwise that didn't involve me. I was blindsided when my friend Nick, who I respected hugely, was brought in as a replacement from Cleveland. I had received a letter from him a few weeks earlier, a really kind, friendly letter, and again I missed the friendship of the Ohio pals, who were all about rock n' roll records and shows and having a blast. I knew Nick was a terrific drummer from his days in Cleveland. He would have been the first person I would have recommended had they asked about a real drummer in the beginning.
I saw Lux and Bryan once before they all moved to California. The guys came to see the Zantees when we were first playing, and hung out to say goodbye and  good luck.
Someone once accused me of playing thuggishly. That is the nicest compliment I've ever received. Finesse is overrated.
Loved having the opportunity to bash things out on the traps with nobody telling me what to do or how to play.

I will be posting part of the book (In English) every couple of weeks so check back occasionally for a fine read !

Stay Sick Weirdos !