Radio Helsinki Listener! The sun is setting in not-nearly-as -blighted-as-Hollywood, Burbank, California. A few minutes from the Warner Brothers and Disney lots. I am listening to the tracks of our show one last time. I have already played this list twice through completely on stationary bikes and elliptical treadmills but I thought I would give it one last pass. Sounding great!
I don’t know if you noticed but our first two tracks have a link. It would be one Kid Congo Powers. He played guitar in the Cramps as well as Gun Club and features on both the Psychedelic Jungle and Mother Juno albums. Kid was not only in the two aforementioned bands but, as you might already know, was a Bad Seed with Nick Cave for years. I have been lucky enough to see Kid in all four bands.
I am sure you’re well aware of America’s present political situation. Is it as bad as it looks? No. Actually, it’s much worse. A lot of the really bad stuff, like what could happen to the environment, water supplies, etc., doesn’t get reported on enough. Media is too busy reporting on a president who sends 140 character messages to his bewildered base, thinking, perhaps that if he keeps them happy, the other 65% of the country will, I don’t know what, really but that’s where it’s at—a daily reminder that education is really important and all elections have consequences.
In this time of the low information electorate, a country held down by an angry minority, many of whom couldn’t find Finland on a map and wouldn’t care if you showed them. I pay attention, check the news daily, etc. but what I concentrate on the most is that life is short and one must prioritize. It would be too easy to cut down on the amount of music listened to and follow this tragic chapter in American history obsessively. I did that once, it was called the Bush administration. I read the books, went to countries on the “Axis of Evil”; Iran, Iraq and North Korea, and I found a lot of good people and really bad governments. I also found music. I want to couch that statement, lest you think I’m trying to convince you it was all great. The marching music I heard blasting through bad systems at dawn in Pyongyang was awful but trippy at the time of the morning. Iraq and Iran had some really interesting jams. Looking back, I gave George Walker Bush waaaaay too much time. I will never do that again. Talk about throwing your life out like garbage. It’s all on me, I guess I wasn’t used to being so grossly offended by an administration. Ironically, the current president kinda makes me miss good ol Bush. The point I’m making is, it’s easy to waste your time hanging out with awful people with incredibly bad ideas. Listening to music instead is not some escapist evasion of the brutal machinations of the “real world” as someone like my father would tell you. It is customizing your living environment. If I pay too much attention to comrade Trump and his gang of inept malcontents, I am living on their terms. Won’t do it.
I have no idea as to the standing level of turbulence in beautiful Finland. It is not for me to offer comment. Most of the time, I find it offensive when someone who doesn’t live in a country sounds off on what they think to be said nation’s shortcomings. (That is, of course, unless it’s someone talking about the America in 2017. I reckon the current is the lowest, ripest hanging piece of fruit on the global comedy tree. He serves himself up like a plate of sashimi.) I reckon that anywhere there are humans, there is discontent. This is why I advocate all free minded people try to have easy access to music at all times. I can dig silence now and then but I prefer existence with a soundtrack. When I read about the almost daily, truly cringe worthy embarrassments perpetrated by the comrade-in-chief, I feel as if I’m being partially owned by this slug. The level of being “okay in my own skin” I achieve while listening to music allows me to reclaim myself from whatever factors or forces have sought to drain the life out of me. Again, it’s that idea of transference that music allows. I don’t have music, I have “my music” and with that, things are for the most part, manageable.
Sorry, back to the show. One of my favorite songs of all time is on this particular show. I direct your attention to track #16, Wrong Treatment by The Four Plugs. I bought it for the cover. I concluded, (and very correctly, I would like to add) that it wouldn’t be anything less than amazing. I have gone all over the internet looking for information on this record and the players behind it. At this point, all I can find is things about me and my pursuit. Several months ago, something interesting happened. I got an email from a man who is writing a book about music from a certain part of England. I honestly forget what part, I think it’s where he grew up. He had seen that I had been looking for information on the Four Plugs. The writer actually found the band, which is one guy, who I guess lived in the area that the book pertains to. He said the guy went into a studio and recorded the songs with a guitar, effects and his voice, hence the “four plugs.” The writer said the man was pretty annoyed that someone was asking him about the record. Apparently, he made the record and stepped away from music. I think the writer said Four Plugs man basically said, “It was a long time ago, sod the past!” and hung up. The writer was surprisingly proprietary about the information. He wouldn’t give me any contact information. I am thinking that once the writer gets his book out, he might loosen up a little. At great risk, I want to interview the Four Plugs guy, or maybe I don’t.
I put the song into the show so you could hear it. I told you the story because I think it makes an interesting point about how we sometimes completely adopt a song or a band, again, that idea of transference. You like the song, so you figure the person or persons making the music will be as you want them to be. It’s often hard to remember that’s not always how people are. And this is one of the many reasons, with great exception, I leave musicians alone and just dig their music. When I am approached by someone who recognizes me, I do my best to super cool because I know what’s at stake.
As I write this, the Nico track, Genghis Khan from her album The Drama of Exile just started. I don’t know if her music is the kind that “grows” on you. I think the best way into her work is as how I first heard her, which was through the first Velvet Underground album. For the most part, her solo work makes her contributions to the VU album seem like pretty pop music. She’s one of the most full on listening experiences there is. In the summer of 1984, I read a book by Victor Bockris called Up-Tight: The Velvet Underground Story. After I finished, I wanted to hear all the Nico albums. I had never heard a single note of her solo material. Byron Coley, the great writer and all around music maven secured me used copies. One of the first ones he gave me was The Drama of Exile. It has some of the only songs of hers I can put into a warm weather play list. In fact, I just located a pristine copy of her iconic album The Marble Index in mono. I have had it for a couple of months now but won’t let myself play it until this November at the earliest. It’s just not summer listening, in my opinion.
Almost everything comes with a certain amount of drudgery, even this show. By reading these notes, are done with that part. Now, it’s all about letting the music play. I hope you enjoy the show.
01. The Cramps- Green Fuz / Psychedelic Jungle
02. The Gun Club - Bill Bailey / Mother Juno
03. The Jesus and Mary Chain - Far Gone And Out / 21 Singles
04. Molly Nilsson – City / The Travels
05. Mark Robinson - Tasty Black Licorice / 2003 Teenbeat Sampler
06. Aias – Bali / A La Piscina
07. The UK Subs – Kicks / The Singles
08. The Stooges - Real Cool Time / The Stooges
09. The MC5 – Poison / High Time
10. Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child (Slight Return) / Johnny B. Goode
11. Roky – Erickson - I Walked With A Zombie / Live 1979-1981
12. Jay Reatard - We Who Wait / Blood Visions
13. Scott Walker - We Came Through / Scott 3
14. Tel Aviv - We Got The Computers / The Shape of Fiction
15. Romania - We’re On The Radio / Remodel
16. The Four Plugs - Wrong Treatment / single
17. Kas Product - So Young But So Cold / Try Out
18. Raymond Scott - And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon / The Secret 7: “The Unexpected
19. Warm Soda - I Know The Cure / Symbolic Dream
20. White Fence - Arrow Man / For the Recently Found Innocent
21. Family Fodder - Savoir Faire / Monkey Banana Kitchen
22. Lee Perry – Kojak / Dub-Triptych
23. Squatweiler - Should I / Full Bladder
24. Prehensile Monkeytailed Skink - I’m A Spy / Bulb Singles #1
25. Nico - Genghis Khan / The Drama of Exile
26. The Aquarium - White House / Aquarium
27. The Black Eyes - Pack of Wolves / Black Eyes
28. Total Control - Safety Net / Typical System
29. Lowtide – Spring / single
30. The Birthday Party – Loose / Peel Sessions
31. Les Rallizes Dénudés - Ice Fire / France Demo Tape Winter 88 - Spring 89