|Midnite Mixtape Massacre - Mick Modell - The Shondikes|
|Written by Mick Modell|
|Sunday, 08 May 2016 03:20|
Hi music lovers and rock 'n' roll maniacs. This is Mick Modell of the Shondikes. I have been graciously invited to compile a 13 track mixtape by the good folks of Uber Rock. Being a musician I made my choices mainly based on the sound, lyrics and performance of the song. Sentimentality and fond memories have nearly no bearing on my selections, Such as: "Ah yes, they were playing this song when I slow danced with Bernice and she let me feel the side of her bra.” Or, "Ooh this one gets me in the pumper (heart) every time. When Deloris and me were making out in the bushes drinking a Hairy Buffaloes - a combination of everything you could steal out of your parent's liquor cabinet all in one Mason Jar.” So here goes. I will try to make my commentaries as entertaining and informative as I can. I hope you like it.
1.) ‘Kick Out The Jams’ - MC5 (from the album by the same name)
When this live album first came out about 4 of my friends had it. A familiar story is that no one else in the school or the town for that matter had the album or had ever even heard of the MC5. There were plenty of hard rock bands out at the time but when I heard this it was like NOTHING I ever heard before. The album starts off with ‘Ramblin’ Rose’. The music was so intense and the guitars were so driving and full on that the band didn't even need a drummer to pound out the beat and still surpass the heavy bands of the day. The next song was thee song. Beginning with Rob Tyner shouting, "Kick Out the Jams brothers and sisters!" My friend immediately clued me in that there was an original version that said, "Kick Out The Jams motherfuckers!" and the gatefold had all kind of revolutionary writing about "Fucking in the Streets" but it was banned. I figured there were still maybe a couple hundred copies out there in the world somewhere, probably in Detroit. I bought an album at a used record store. I almost fainted from overwhelming joy and surprise when I was playing it for the first time, softly at the supper table with my parents. Dinner music, I know, I can hardly believe it myself but I was young, when the infamous line played. I was so shocked that I almost spat my mouthful of mashed potatoes and peas in my mother's ear. I would take the record to my bedroom and blast it. I marvelled at how a band could come out with a song this strong and fun. This song has the most amazing guitar hook. It pulled me in and held on tight. The bass was so loud and full that I thought he was playing chords (which he does in places on the album). The drummer was playing a sort of sloppy drum solo throughout the song but always went back to hammering out the back beat on the snare like some deranged disco bass drum keeping the pulse. We couldn't understand most of the words through this blaring, exciting combination of bass and two guitars and manic drums playing this addictive riff. None of us really knew what Kick Out The Jams even meant. But we all thought we did. We thought they were saying “kick out the things jamming up the government.” We had the meaning wrong, along with 99% of the rest of the world or at least the modest amount of hipsters who had this album. Decades later in books and interviews with Brother Wayne Kramer himself. It was finally revealed that "Kick Out The Jams" is just what Rob Tyner and the band would always yell at the opening acts who were usually boring jam bands. But the real thing that makes me go wild EVERY TIME I hear this song is the originality of the back up singing. Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith and Wayne Kramer are singing and hooting and screaming practically throughout the whole album but especially in the small spaces in between each line of every verse of every song. and whereas most backing vocals have harmonies like ‘Twist And Shout’ the real raucous backup singing is still tuneful like on ‘Money’ by The Beatles. The MC5's backing vocals sound like escaped mental patients but these backing vocals punctuate everything so perfectly. I believe that these backing tracks where dubbed in after the live recording because of all the live DVDs of The 5 and all the stacks of rare recordings the band has released I have never heard them singing this way to this extent anywhere else. If anyone knows for sure, please do tell. The lyrics on the album are sometimes dirty, like Tyner repeating "Nipples Stiffen" in ‘Come Together’ and "I'm a nob bobber", but we missed all the dirty parts because we couldn't make out the words or they went over our heads. We mistakenly thought the clean parts were dirty. I met Wayne Kramer and I asked him "In the song Kick Out the Jams; do the words go, 'Ya gotta have it baby. You can't do without 'n' when you get the feeling you've got to suck my balls?" He laughed and replied, "No, it's 'You've got to sock it out" ...... What?...."You know, like sock it to me"...."Oh yeah". To see the MC5 at their peak of power and showmanship go to YouTube and type in: MC5 At Tartar Field Wayne State University Detroit on July 19th. They play three songs including ‘Kick Out The Jams’. Where is a film of that complete concert hiding? P.S. One last treat for TRUE MC5 fans. I had been listening to that album for almost 10 years when a guitar player friend of mine was playing the album pointed out something I never noticed. When it came to the end of the song ‘Come Together’ he said, "Mick, listen to the final closing note." After they hold a note to build up suspense they come crashing down with a huge bang and the loud, insane, completely original bending of electrified guitar strings that sound like speeding car screeching to a stop. No other band had ended a song like this before or since. Put it on, you'll thank me.
2.) ‘Down On The Street’ - The Stooges (from the album ‘Funhouse’)
Shortly after this album was released my friend gave the ‘Funhouse’ album to me for a birthday present. It was already opened so I figured he bought it for himself and didn't like it, or it was ALREADY in the bargain bin. Ha! We had been aware of this guy IGGY Stooge for a while from rock magazines. He was this skinny little guy who never wore a shirt and used to always jump into the audience. "So what?" When I got a chance to be alone and put on the first song ‘Down on The Street’ I was like “Holy shit!!!!!!!” That riff and the sound of the guitar and the drums with the bass drum pattern was so perfect it hit the best groove and locked it in tight. Once again, I never heard anything that sounded like this and it was only SECONDS into the song! Immediately Iggy lets out a scream. To me, no one ever came close to John Lennon's screams in ‘Bad Boy’, ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’ and especially ‘Slow Down’. His screams can send shivers down your spine and make your toes curl. But Iggy had a new completely unique way to scream. It began with an "R" , RRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHH-AH ......."What the.....?" And he followed it with some hoots. As soon as he starts singing the verse his voice sounds somewhat familiar, like garage rock, but Iggy's voice sounded more forceful, more determined, more confident than even the great Question Mark of the Mysterians. From the opening scream and the hoots and the fact that I couldn't understand a half the Goddamn words he was singing made me think there was a little insanity mixed in his persona. And after only a few lines the song was already into the chorus where he's screaming the last word of the verse over and over to the music. But I had no idea at all what that word was. It turns out that with this song too, nobody knew or cared what words he was singing. Decades later the lyrics where printed online comically incorrect. But if you persevered you could find the correct lyrics but once you finally knew them you still didn't know what the hell they meant. So then you had to buy some biographies to eventually learn what "No Walls" and "Real O Mind" meant. At that time, the rest of the album didn't do that much for me. But as I matured musically I slowly began to really appreciate soul music and jazz and the ecstasy of a saxophone playing sexy soft music or the excitement of honking mind blowing free form insanity. The second side of ‘Funhouse’ has mad sax playing that appeals to me more than almost any other sax playing; perhaps because of the music it's being played to? These days I like the second side better than the first. I had to catch up with the album. But the opening song on side one ‘Down on the Street’ and the way it grabbed hold of me, especially that first time and every time since, still thrills me.
3.) ‘Sweet Thing’, ‘Candidate’, ‘Sweet Thing (Reprise)' and ‘Rebel Rebel’ - David Bowie (from the album ‘Diamond Dogs)
I'm going to count these as one selection. Actually, there are three songs that all connect and flow into one another. ‘Candidate’ is still ‘Sweet Thing’ because even though the beat picks up, the lyrics are still a continuation of a story Bowie is telling in ‘Sweet Thing’. I chose these songs together because has ANYBODY who owns the album EVER played ‘Sweet Thing' without playing it to the end of ‘Rebel Rebel’? If so, where is this nut? I or no one I know has been able to do it. The song is about sex, prostitution, fear, loneliness, drugs and more. These songs show Bowie's unbelievable talent and range in song writing and singing. His singing style has transformed by the time he gets to ‘Rebel Rebel’ and the music style has gone all the way from a dark, emotional masterpiece to an ultra-hip edgy modern rock 'n' roll hit. The words he uses and descriptions of the subjects make the songs seem stranger than they already are. You are amazed at each line of this song as you are at most every song this guy has ever written. But especially THIS SONG. I always knew the words to ‘Sweet Thing’ and ‘Candidate’ but I wanted to make sure I knew what I was talking about when I chose these songs so I looked up the song's meanings online. DAMN!!!! The lyrics are deeper, more complex, emotional, and therefore BETTER than I ever knew or imagined. I strongly suggest that you do the same. You'll truly be glad you did.
4.) ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’ - Donovan (from the album ‘The Hurdy Gurdy Man’)
Okay, this song has four descending chords that start the song and never change throughout the entire song! There are two verses but for the most part Donovan just keeps singing "Hurdy Gurdy Hurdy Gurdy Hurdy Gurdy he sang", “Rolly Polly Rolly Polly Rolly Polly he sang" over and over and the drummer, save for a few times, plays the exact same drum roll after every line of the choruses and every line of the lead guitar solo and this to me is still one of the most FANTASTC and heavy rock songs ever made. John Paul Jones plays bass and booked the session. He says that it was English session drummer Clem Cattini who played drums on that recording. And play he did! Everything is so perfect on this song from going from soft and dreamlike verses to loud distorted choruses where Donovan keeps singing gently. I love the repetition. I LOVE the drums. Cattini found the perfect fill and used it for maximum effect.
5.) When I Get Home - The Beatles (from the album ‘A Hard Days Night’)
This song rocks! I love songs where the lead singing doesn't have words. Not back up singing. The LEAD singing. Like ‘The Immigrant Song’ or the choruses to ‘5 O’clock World‘ by the Vogues or the chorus to ‘Do It Again’ by the Beach Boys. But I think the Beatles better everybody in ‘When I Get Home’. "WOAH-o-o-AYYYYYYYYYYYYY WOAH-o-o-AYYYYYYY!!!!!!" This song is so underrated. It’s hardly ever played or mentioned. Almost like it doesn't exist. Most of the Beatles real rocking' songs were covers. But they wrote this one. Listen to it with headphones. The singing is so high spirited and wild. If you listen to Paul's backing vocals, they are so exuberant you wonder if George Martin sped the tape up on this backing track. Ringo's hi-hat is open the perfect amount (as always) to make the cymbals sizzle with such a wash of sound that it gives the song such excitement and magical, yes magical tone. The words are great. Lennon's singing is great. This is an unbelievable song.
6.) ‘Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow’ - The Monkees (from the album ‘More Of The Monkess’)
I love The Monkees, especially their first four albums. ‘Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow’ is on their second album. Neil Diamond wrote this song. It's a very well-crafted song. Excellent verses which lead to very exciting choruses. Great words that at the closing line of each chorus says: "Oh how I wish tomorrow would never come." You can't get much better than that. AND the song has a very heavy guitar riff middle eight. If The Monkees are too lightweight for you because you are Mr. Tough Guy and so cool, that's okay with me. Just let this song pass you by, but you will be missing out on a fantastic musical experience. How 'bout this, if you lean more towards an appreciation of the bizarre you might want to check out the song ‘Merry-Go-Round’ by The Monkees. It's co-written and sung by Peter Tork. You can find this surreal gem on Monkees rarities albums like ‘The Birds, The Bees & The Raritees’.
7.) ‘Box Of Rain’ - Grateful Dead (from the album ‘American Beauty’)
Alright a small preface before I tell you about this song. If you hate the Grateful Dead, you just go right on hating them. I don't want to spoil your fun. But if you like strange, beautiful lyrics and one of the best tunes I've ever heard please do yourself a favour and give this song a chance. It has odd harmonies. I read about the recording session and found out that the guys singing didn't have the harmonies down so they were singing different harmonies on each take. I don't know the meaning of half of the lyrics and even when I watched a "Behind The Music" with lyricist Robert Hunter explaining why he wrote the song and its purpose; that only helped shine some light on it for me. But I like strange songs and I like songs with a beautiful melody. And I love this song. Give it a listen. It will do you no harm.
8.) ‘You Should Never Have Opened That Door’ - Ramones (from the album ‘Leave Home’)
I love the tune. The words are funny to me. The backing vocals are great, and I along with many other people think that Joey Ramone had the best voice and was one of the best rock 'n' roll singers of all time. His singing makes the song.
9.) ‘Sock It To Me-Baby!’ - Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels (from the 1967 Stateside released 7” by the same name)
What a power filled R&B song this is. Mitch Ryder's has a soul man voice and the cadence of the lyrics "Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme something sweet" "Knock me off my feet". And ...wait for it...The drums are out of this world in the choruses the music stops and this tribal beat on the tom toms takes over with Mitch Ryder singing "Sock It.....To me Baaaaa-by" It's the wildest.
10.) ‘Jelly Roll Gum Drop’ - Ruben & The Jets (from the album ‘Cruising with Ruben & the Jets’)
Ruben & The Jets, who in reality are Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. This is the best song on a doo-wop album they made after doo-wop was out of style. In the liner notes that come with rare copies of the album; it explains that a Jelly Roll was a men's greaser hair-do in the fifties. But long before it was a hair style it was a an old blues slang word for "Vagina” and I have a feeling that the "Gum Drop" is the clitoris. Though I've never read it or heard anyone say it. It's got to be..... right? The song is upbeat and seemingly innocent. "I wanna I wanna Jelly Roll Gum Drop” but mostly the singer (Ray Collin) is just singing about his girlfriend and how much he likes her and how great she is. This might be my all time favourite song.
11.) ‘Now You're In Heaven’ - Julian Lennon (from the album ‘Mr. Jordan’)
When Julian Lennon came out on MTV I thought he had talent and wrote good songs. Even a few great ones like ‘Stick Around’. But then he came out with ‘Now You're in Heaven’ which consists mostly of him singing to a girl saying "It's a trip to ecstasy" which is normal enough but there are also lines that if taken literally make it seem like he's singing to a corpse. "Ah don't look distracted I'll use my fatal charms" and "If you come alive you can spend your life with me." I think these lines were slipped in the song for a bit of humour. Or maybe it is to be taken literally, again with humour. I don't know. Alice Cooper wrote a few songs about necrophilia with ‘Cold Ethyl’ and ‘I Love The Dead, ‘Refrigerator Heaven’ but that's perfectly normal for him. But the thing that makes me really like this song is that the title could be something Julian Lennon might say to his Dad. It is but it isn't, but I take it like it is. Even though the song mentions not a hint of John Lennon. That's the good feeling it gives me. Plus it has one of the catchiest choruses ever written. He uses a different voice to sing this song. Some people say it's similar to Bowie. I love this song. If you watch the video for it, Julian Lennon looks like a real likable guy. So I got the song.
12.) ‘Bodies’ - Sex Pistols (from the album ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’)
I heard this song when it first came out and as I said about some other songs on this list: I had NEVER heard anything like it EVER. The whole album is hard driving rock but compared to the intense force of power that comes screaming at you in this song, the rest of the album sounds like a nun playing harp music on roofies. It is Johnny Rotten's masterpiece. I always thought I knew what the words were about. I knew it was more than him trying to be shocking. But when I read the story of the real girl that the song is about, well, that was almost enough insanity for me for one day, but I kept reading and learning that the words to this song are so intelligent. The cadence and angry tone of his voice is brilliant. The excellent thought provoking lyrics and the expertly placed expletives and the string of obscenities had never before been recorded like that to be put out for the public. It is one of the most exceptional and heartfelt pieces of lyric writing ever. And about such a serious subject. Yet STILL, the words can make you laugh when you listen to it. This song is one of a kind! The deeper you get into the lyrics the more intelligent and emotional they become. I guess it's all in the way Johnny sings it that can make you laugh even though he sounds angry and adamant and very serious. How does that happen?
13.) ‘Tut Tut Tut Tut’ by Gillian Hills (from the album ‘Twistin’ The Rock Vol 9)
I like ‘60s French yé-yé girl music. There's lots of good pop/rock songs in this style of music. One of the kookiest and one of my favourites is ‘Tut Tut Tut Tut’ where at the end of every verse a girl imitates a telephone busy signal. What more can I say? It is fantastic and very funny. Ya gotta check it out.