Thursday, 4 December 2014

Trash !..........What is it ? part two.

A lot to answer for.
In 1961 Kai Ray (Richard A. Caire) released the sublime 'I Want Some Of That' which The Cramps took and mutated as part of 'The Natives Are Restless'. The B-side of the aforementioned single was called 'Trashman Blues' and this ditty inspired 3 guys from Minneapolis who took a surf holiday in California during the winter of 1962 to call their surf-garage-r'n'r band.......The Trashmen ! (Thankfully they weren't listening to Lonnie Donnegan's 'My Old Mans A Dustman' or things could have turned out very differently). Funnily enough, both Kai Ray and The Trashmen were from the same city and he also went on to write several songs for them as well as providing their name.
'Surfin' Bird' (A mish mash of some of The Rivingtons tunes) is as good a place as any to put as a starting point for what would evolve into the 'Trash' sound and when you throw Link Wray's 'Hidden Charms' and The Sonics into the mix, you end up with a rather potent brew. Fast forward a few years to 81-82, The Cramps had already covered 'Surfin Bird', the gnarly output of The Hammersmith Gorillas was a footnote in musical history and the nascent psychobilly sound was being watered down into cartoonesque parody.

The Sting Rays cover The Cramps.
Fortunately, not everyone was following the naughty schoolboy antics of the 'Ooh walla walla' squad, covering themselves in make-up or trying to convince the world they were satan spawn ! By this time The (original) Meteors had split and Nigel Lewis and Mark Robertson had decicedly gone down the garage punk/trash route with their new band The Tall Boys. Meanwhile the Sting Rays under one of their several personas, as The Banana Men this time had released an EP of 'Songs Made Popular by The Cramps' much like the Damned's alter egos,  Naz Nomad & The Nightares' album 'Give Daddy The Knife Cindy' had caused a bit of confusion among 60's Garage purists, some mistakenly believing it was rediscovered 'lost album', The Banana Men EP initially had the same bewildered johnnys scratching their heads too !     

The Gorehounds. Dublin, Ireland 1984-1990.
While it's true that the majority of the 'first wave of Trash' bands were coming from the UK, the blending of 60's Punk and Rockabilly with a heavy dose of Cramps style was far from uniquely British, Ireland had The Golden Horde as well as self confessed Crampophiles, The Gorehounds (not to be confused with the US band of the same name) who released a couple of fine platters, 'The Big Spud EP' being a fine example where they totally destroy the country (Kenny Rogers) song 'Ruby' and their only LP entitled 'Semtex' is worth a listen too although it does stray off into pastures I tend to shy away from.

1981's debut 7" (beware of bootlegs).
Equally, The Nomads, from Sweden, output 1981-1987 is essential, but post 87' they veer off into a heavier sound (as did a host of other garage bands) which is fine if you like The Dictators, Blue Oyster Cult et al....Their debut mini LP 'Where The Wolfbane Blooms' is fantastic, as is the follow up, also a mini LP 'Temptation Pays Double'. Both of these MLP's were combined for the Spanish LP 'Rat Fink A Boo Boo' and for the UK release 'Outburst' which make either LP de riguer. The 1989 release of 'Punchdrunk' by The Rumblers saw members of The Nomads (along with some guys from The Bottle Ups) going back to their earlier style albeit with a leaning toward the Rockabilly influences rather than the Garage Punk side of things, it's relatively unknown and so can be picked up fairly easily for a reasonable price.

With The Cannibals
In France 'Le Trash' was a rather localised affair, centering around Le Havre and Paris due to members of The Cannibals coming from Le Havre as well as the place being home to both 'Closer Records' and 'Sonics Records', these labels specialising in releasing Garage (in part) from UK, US, Scandinavia and Australia. Where as in Paris, it was more to do with New Rose and to a lesser degree with Skydog that the connections were made, New Rose having been the licensing label for The Cramps in France once they'd exited IRS. France really did take the 'Trash' thing to heart with many of the gigs (Le Havre in particular) being recorded and extensive tours, far more so than anywhere else in Europe except maybe Germany (?) where it was seen as part of the psychobilly scene. No real legacy on vinyl from any French bands (The Gorgons came a bit later) that I'm aware of (please feel free to correct me) but Belgian band (from Brussels, where they speak French) ' Melody Massacre' released a killer of a Mini LP (S/T) well worth tracking down.

Just have to love the artwork of Antoine Bernhart.
Big Beat actually released a CD of The Escalators 'Live in Le Havre 83' and I know for certain that there are other recordings out there as I've heard a few, most of which would be worthy of release. And you couldn't possibly not mention Antoine Bernhart when talking about 'Trash' in France, he's the crazed genius behind the 'Dead Johnny' logo of The Tall Boys, as well as having designed countless posters and record sleeves, a lot of which can be found on his website......look him up !

More to follow.

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