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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CD REVIEW: Blacklist Royals "Semper Liberi"

The truest rock'n'roll bands have always been gangs, proudly living coolness out loud in the startled face of unsympathetic propriety. Early Stones, Dolls, Ramones, Clash, Social Distortion.

And Blacklist Royals. They merit addition to that shameful/shame-free record, flinging heedlessly as they raucously do technicolored, kicks-larded, and punchy rock'n'roll that defies dismissal, that by its raw power upends and obliterates beneath boot polished pretensions. Challenging guitars muscle at this music's fore, in LOUD and brash mien -- and, of course, formidable beats drive this funny-car pile-up -- but a satisfying abundance of variegation and lapel-seizing depth issue from swerving, spashing keys.

The primal spirit of genuine rock'n'roll breathes, still: Springsteenish everyman psalmizing, detonative punk, pixilated guitar-party bombast. The Blacklist Royals have a stake in The Music That Changed The World, and they're no less agressively in love with it than were any of their storied street-corner forebears.

RECOMMENDED "Howling At the Moon," "Rock'n'Roll"

-- DC Larson

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CD REVIEW: Laura Cortese

"Acoustic Project" (self)

There are beguiling sauciness, whisper-of-truth articulations, and knowing winks in this elegant string quartet effort. Tender, quietly formidable violin reigns from its midst. Laura spins Celtic-air webs that reward as abundantly as they impressively promise.

Herein are lofted too-rare delights: a laughing lilt to this moment, an arch maneuver to the next. Spirited frolic, leaving a glow of good fortune.

Laura is marvelously aided by Hanneke Cassel, and Natalie and Brittany Haas. As one, the four contrive enthralling melodic charms that beckon through both olde manners and effectively of-this-moment assertions.

Amazing, the force alurk in dancing strings, delicate voicings, and hearts quite open.

Recommended "Overcome," "Women of the Ages"
  -- DC Larson

Saturday, July 17, 2010



The band authorities fear

Ted Smalley - vocals, keys
Chris Levine - guitar
Kodie Krypt - bass, vocals
Daniel Dekay - drums, vocals

Tracks: "No One To Blame," "Make Me Crazy," "Break All the Rulz"
(Source: band My Space page. See address below.)

The Lieutenant ripped the dispatch from the printer and ran to the chief's office.

"Chief! Chief!"

The grizzled 30-year veteran looked up from his paperwork. "Boy, you know better than to run in here..."

"I know, sorry! But --" the aide gulped for breath. "But this is BIG!"

The chief reclined. "Let me be the judge."

His hand shaking, the Lieutenant handed him the dispatch.

"LYINHEART?" The chief nearly fell off his chair. "LYINHEART IS COMIN' HERE?"

His shoulders slumping, the Chief trudged to the window. His voice was forlorn, a whisper. "Real peaceful little town, we used to have..."

The four-man metallic crush-league known to quivering officials and raging club-goers alike as LYINHEART erupted in buccolic Iowa -- a technicolored explosion of blood-eyed rock'n'roll fury. And the serrated obstreperousness of their Level 5 sound perpetration is matched spike for mohawk by eye-grabbing visual edge.

"We have a cool show coming up opening for Adler's Appetite at Spicoli's August 13th," Daniel enthused to me. I mentioned I'd be reviewing here the first three songs on the group's My Space page. "Those are actually the 3 songs we have recorded with the new lineup," the drummer said, adding that they had just put up newly-mastered versions. "We also re-recorded bass and drums for 'Make Me Crazy' and I just uploaded that version as well."

The ominously mid-tempo "No One To Blame" prowls on outsider feet. Chris's guitar crunches splenetic threats as Daniel and Kodie keep up spooky, hypnotic voodoo poundings. Ted's masterful vocals soar beyond the universe.

"Make Me Crazy" registers as a sinister tale of tortuous devotion. Another sinister mid-tempo narrative, this one addictively anthemic with crafted-in hooks that linger long after the last notes fade.

Of the three tunes reviewed here, "Break All the Rulz" is perhaps the strongest. It's a full-on metal cheer-anthem. (And when I caught LyinHeart at Waterloo's 13th Step, it was a crowd favorite.) Six strings on fire with chip-on-shoulder passion, high-energy vocals stabbing ever upward, a guitar solo as knowingly articulate as screaming and confrontational.

(The LyinHeart My Space page also features 7 other tracks.)

(Daniel emailed answers to For the Record questions):

1) What's the coolest place(s) to hang out in Iowa?

Our singer Ted should answer this cuz he would likely say strip clubs since he dj's in them!!!

2) Where's your favorite place to play? (Is it the answer to Q1?) Favorite recording studio?

We play Spicoli's Grill/Reverb Rock Garden a lot in Waterloo. They have always been good to us and have given us a lot of great shows with 80's bands. A new bar in Waterloo called The 13th Step is a great little place as well. Favorite studio is definitely Christian Brown's studio outside of Cedar Falls. That's where we always record.

3) Favorite fast food? Favorite beer/drink?

Probably BK and Budweiser!

4) Law you'd most like to see overturned? New law you'd like to see enacted?

I always speed so they should take down all the speed limit signs! No more laws!

5) Other IA bands you'd recommend?

We play with a lot of bands. Trash Platinum, Grave Corps, Beneath The Palace are very close to us!

6) Philosophy of life (in 10 words or less)?

Always believe in what you do, otherwise don't do it.



Video of LyinHeart performing "Hate You" at Spicoli's (Cedar Falls, Iowa):

Video of Failure of Progress and LyinHeart at Club Pyramid (Decorah) 2009:


Thursday, July 8, 2010



Derek Billick, vocals, guitar
Nathaniel Byerly, guitar
Justin Richardson, bass, vocals
Nathan Moody, drums

Latest Release "Rough Cuts," from upcoming album "Everyone Gets a Turn"

tracks: "Zero To Ten"
           "Everyone Gets A Turn"

True heartland high-energy heroes. Last May, Oskaloosa's The Knobs opened for Ratt at 7 Flags, and later found themselves on the Summer Jam stage.They rocked out in hectic, sweaty form between Warrant and LA Guns. I caught them at Waterloo's 13th Step a few weeks ago, and was knocked out by their boundless exuberance and the jagged, flashy rock'roll excitement they chainsawed and splayed into every corner of the packed club.

No one in the crowd even cared about the downpour outside!

In just 3 tracks, "Rough Cuts" presents them as a loose-jointed and bombastic outfit well worth rank with the genre luminaries beside whom they rock audiences into delirium. Drawing on 70s and 80s metal influences, they craft an at once distinct and dynamic sound that all but blasts from speakers. Equally adept at high-speed and more measured and sinister tempos, the group already has one boot on the next plateau.


                                        (mgr Brett Sites)

(Thanks to Brett for assisting with this interview. Answers by Justin.)

1) What's the coolest place(s) to hang out in Iowa?

The coolest place to hang out in Iowa is in front of a stage in some bar somewhere where a great band is playing tunes you love!

2) Where's your favorite place to play? (Is it the answer to Q1?) Favorite recording studio?

My favorite place to play is (at this point) 7 Flags Event Center. Whenever we play there we always have a great time and the crowd is always outgoing and receptive.

3) Favorite fast food? Favorite beer/drink?

As far as fast food goes, I must admit I am an Arby's fan. I'm too young for alcohol, so my favorite drink has got to be good old Dr. Pepper.

4) Law you'd most like to see overturned? New law you'd like to see enacted?

I would love to see same-sex marriage laws enacted throughout the United States. The tyranny has gone on far too long!

5) Other IA bands you'd recommend?

I would definitely recommend Dark Mirror, Steve Robinson & the Foundation, and the Brothers Green. They all rock, in their own, unique way.

6) Philosophy of life (in 10 words or less)?

Live free, have fun, and don't hurt anybody. :)

7) QUOTE (on any topic):

"The hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is." - Eddie Van Halen

video: "Zero To Ten"


Wednesday, June 30, 2010


                                        L-R: Syl Sylvain, Cheetah Chrome

I recently exchanged emails with legendary punk guitarist Cheetah Chrome. His comments follow these reviews of his latest recordings.

"s/t" (Smog Veil)

The countless bands to stalk and stagger in the New York Dolls' and Dead Boys' wake have, most often,
focused on capturing similar swerve/edge/growl. And some have pulled it off quite handily.

But what many have missed -- what the originals had and what the Batusis give out in full-throated abundance -- is the joyfulness of the outsider, the swinging, careening fun that matched fury step for step.

Meaning, that deep in the marrow of this bombastic assault against all-that-snores is a happiness-for the -
hell-of-it, foot-stomping, grinning exuberance that exalts the serial wiseass rock'n'roll beyond mere dime-a -dozen social disrupter to the higher status of self-signifier: We're here, and we're as valid as any a-youse!"

The four smoking, jet-train to a carbonated hell-of-delights cuts here include Davie Allen's "Blues' Theme;" a rollicking, swaying, party called "What You Lack In Brains" (which Syl sings, offering what Creem once called a "sailor-on-shore-leave whistle" recalling the Dolls); the crunchy and menacing "Bury You Alive"
(sinister vocals by Cheetah); and the instrumental "Big Cat Stomp," in which guitars are loosed from leashes. They gallop and sideswipe in glorious mettallic distemper.

Rocket From the Tomb
"I Sell Soul" / "Romeo and Juliet" (Smog Veil)

New wax from RFtT, a reassembled pre-Dead Boys/Pere Ubu Cleveland band. "Soul" is the more alive of this single's tracks, rousing in a way the more lethargic "Romeo" isn't. Guitars (by both Cheetah and ex -Television Richard Lloyd) merit regard, charging as they do without regard for public safety. And David Thomas's cultivatedly eccentric vocals -- a stylized moan-chant -- lend unmistakeable distinction.

The Batusis and RFtT recordings are available from:,

Rocket From the Tombs VIDEOS:

"I Sell Soul"
"Romeo and Juliet"


1) The head-chopping guitar method you exercised with the Dead Boys endures -- savage, exciting, raw, swerving, intense. (Indeed, we heard it on "Alive In Detroit") And it can be heard on the new Batusis disc. "Big Cat Stomp" really lets it off the chain! Are you satisfied with the latest recordings?

I probably like the EP more than anything else I’ve recorded; I love the sound of it, and the feel. Usually there’s something that bugs me, just some little thing that no one else even notices, but there ain’t one on this! Ken Coomer and Charlie Brocco deserve a lot of props, they really did a great job.

2) You co-wrote 3 of the Batusi disc's 4 tracks, and both cuts on the Rocket From the Tombs vinyl. (I've done some checking back, and found you did a good deal of writing on the first Dead Boys LP, as well as 3 of the 10 songs on the 2nd DBs LP.Oh, and 11 of "Alive's" 12 tracks.) Do you have a particular writing modus operandi? If so, please describe it.

Usually I just will be playing, not even trying to write, and I’ll play a riff and say “Hmmm……what was THAT?” and I’ll go back and work with it. But I’ve written music while looking at a set of lyrics on a piece of paper, and while sitting around with RFTT when we thought we were tapped out and came up with one of our best riffs ever. I guess it all boils down to picking up the guitar in the first place – best way to start! But for the most part they just sort of appear, out of the ether.

3) Tell readers some about your and Syl's accompanists in the Batusis.

Well, Thommy Price I’ve known for years, we played in different bands together in the CBGB scene. We both played on Ronnie Spector’s first solo album. We’re good friends and we like to play together, that simple. I ran into him and the other Blackhearts (Enzo and Dougie) at LaGuardia Airport on the way home form a gig, and he suggested that the Blackhearts back me up at some NYC shows. We did several of those, and when it came time to do the EP he and Enzo were the first guys I thought of for the rhythm section. I love the Blackhearts; they’re one of the best bands out there. Dougie Needles is a monster on guitar.

Since those guys are Joan’s band, we had to find some replacements for them in order to tour, and I don’t think we chose too badly. We have Lez Warner, formerly of the Cult, on drums; I had met Lez in Las Vegas a couple of years ago and we got on well, and I kept him in mind for future projects. When the drum stool opened up, he was the first guy I called.

On bass we have Sean Koos, a former Blackheart, who came highly recommended by Thommy and Enzo, which is all the recommendation I need! We’ve only been able to play together a couple of times, but he’s working out great.

4) What guitars amps do you use? Same in the studio as live?

You want me to bore you with that? Sure!! I have a couple of Gibson SG’s and a Les Paul BFG that I use live, usually through a Line6 Flextone III 2x12 with a Bassman extension cabinet. I’ve replaced the Celestion speakers in the Flextone with Eminence Redcoats, and put the Celestions in the Bassman.That’s the rig I use live for most part, though sometimes I just rent a Marshall halfstack if it’s going to be easier.

In the studio I use a Marshall MG15ms, the Zakk Wylde model, usually with my Gothic SG. For some stuff I use a Danelectro I have, which is too fragile to use live.

5) Future plans?

Touring, then recording, then touring, then recording. In between I’ll be out promoting my autobiography, which hits stores 9/15. Then probably some more touring or recording....


Friday, June 18, 2010

CD review: Judge Jackson

"Drive" (Curtis Joe)

When a red-rimmed buddy turns up on your doorstep, a shameless party you'd once sworn would never end erupts, anew. Action guitars at the fore, a muscular rock'n'roll attack team in the spirit of Velvet Revolver and GNR howls. There is much joy to be had kicking out all jams. Let the almighty, experience-centering riff be your guide in a tilted land of crunch and exultation.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Photographer George Dubose executed several classic Ramones LP covers, including "Too Tough To Die," "Brain Drain," and "Mondo Bizarro." He recently published a collection of beautiful b/w and color photos of the band, plus his own invaluable first-hand recollections of the photo shoots and what it was like working with punk's first band.

George now lives in Germany. See his email at the interview's conclusion, to order his fantastic book!

1) I see you began in photography around '77 (or was it earlier?) and that among your pre-Ramones subjects were Lydia Lunch and Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Were they good to work with? Any other early subjects/credits you'd care to mention?

I moved to NYC to apprentice myself to fashion photographers to gain training to be a portrait photographer, a la Yousef Karsch. I was invited to see the B52s at Max's Kansas City and fell in love with the band's music from the first two bars. They played "Planet Claire" the music of which was "The Peter Gunn Theme" from my childhood's exposure to that television show.

Funny enough, Lydia Lunch and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks was the opening act that night at Max's and I didn't care for them at all. I didn't understand what punk rock was at that time.

I asked the B's to come to the studio where I was an apprentice, for a photo shoot that I wanted to present to Andy Warhol's magazine "Interview". Unfortunately, Cindy Wilson had returned to Athens, GA, so Maureen the manager stood in for her in the photo. Interview published the photo and licensed it to a Japanese magazine called "Studio Voice".

The next time I got the B's to come to "my" studio, the band was complete and I printed 1000 16 x 20 B&W posters, gave half to the band and sniped some of the rest to advertise the band's upcoming gigs. The posters, however, were stolen as fast as I could tape them up (I didn't know about wheat paste). I started selling the posters for 52 cents each or two for a dollar.

Two years later, I was contacted by Tony Wright from Island Records and asked to show my collection of the band photos I had from concerts and in the photo studio. I didn't know that the band had already decided on one photo from the second studio shoot.

Tony asked me to sepia tone the B&W photo and the he cut film overlays to colorized their clothing.

Tony hated the group and used the pseudonym "Sue Absurd" as the art director's name.

2) You did a number of cool covers for the Ramones. Any one particular favorite?

Roberta Bayley's first cover photo was how they really were, Too Tough to Die is how the band saw themselves and Mondo Bizarro is how I saw them...

3) Quoted in the introduction, Daniel Rey called you "one of the few people allowed access to recording sessions, rehearsals, video and other 'insider' events" related to the Ramones. Any story not in your book you'd like to share?

Funny Daniel Rey mentions this. I once had a creative meeting for the cover of "Brain Drain". The band didn't want a photo this time, so we contacted Matt Mahurin and bought an image from a painting by him, the back cover was a video still from the video "Lobotomy". While I was at the recording studio, Bill Laswell was producing this LP and wouldn't allow anyone in the control room AT ALL. Not even the band.

I was "upstairs" in a lounge area shooting billiards with Monte Melnick, the tour manager and I looked through a window down into the large recording room and I saw someone playing bass that wasn't Dee Dee. I asked Monte who was that and he said it was "just Daniel Rey adding a bass track". About an hour later, I looked through the window and saw Daniel playing guitar. Again, I asked Monte what was going and he pulled down the window shade and said, "You've seen enough!"

Daniel Rey is a great musician, producer and guitarist. I studied guitar myself for years and always thought that Johnny could have been easily replaced in the group. Little did I know he was the leader and owned the name "Ramones".

A lot of musicians contributed to Ramones albums without credit. Joey's brother, Mickey Leigh was a classic example...

4) You write that you had the best personal relationship with Joey. Was he individually creative? Could he have had a rewarding solo career?

I saw Joey performing with other musicians several times. I thought that Joey always performed 50s and 60s rock'n'roll covers superbly. I often told him that he should just do a solo album of covers. He never got around to it, unfortunately.

5) I know different jobs require different equipment. Do you have a favorite camera? If so, what do you value about it, in terms of what you can do with it?

To me, the camera is a tool, I am not emotionally attached to any camera. I like to work in a square format with a Hasselblad, but no one is willing to pay film costs in these digital daze. Making a great photo is different than taking a great photo, you can take a photo with any camera, making a photo is the idea. Sometimes the cheapest cameras take the coolest shots.

6) What's Germany like? How long have been living there?

I am not living here for the weather. It wasn't a great career move. I have a beautiful German wife and two great little boys I am raising with American spirit.

I don't want to rag on Germans or any other Europeans, but I am not a socialist. The tax situation in Europe is really bad, up to 22% sales tax is some countries. The price of gasoline is absurd. I remind the Europeans that Americans started a war over taxes...anyone remember the Boston Tea Party?

7) In ending the text section, you write "They quit, I haven't." What're you doing, these days? (Still doing photo work?)

I am doing some of the best work of my career, Kukoo da Baggabonz's "Da Grustler" is one of my best ever covers. I have worked with the Traceelords on several packages and do shoots for hip hop and rock magazines. I am working on a series of books that tell the stories and show the outtakes from shoots I did throughout my career.

I have a lot of exhibits all around Europe and have a lot of photo sales in Norway.

8) Any new photographic styles/approaches you're trying, these days?

I only experiment when I have a job. Some of my best shots have been accidents. Throughout my career I have always adapted my approach, the location or environment, even the choice of film according to the needs of my subject. I don't do landscapes, baby or dog photos. Photography is not my hobby, it is my job.

9) Where should interested fans go to purchase your book?

At the present time, I have two books of my work that I have released. These two are part of the series, "I Speak Music". The first is "I Speak Music - Ramones" and the second is "I Speak Music - hip hop - Old School Volume One". There will be 5-6 hip hop books in chronological order, then there will be more rock books beginning with the jazz artists that I shot before I discovered new wave and the B-52s.

I print my books "on demand". The printer charges a small fortune for single books or runs of 100, so I have to ask for 30 bucks plus shipping per copy. You CAN buy the Ramones book on Amazon, but by the time I get my 10 bucks and the printer makes a markup and Amazon makes a markup, the book is over 50 bucks.

Buying directly from me is cheaper and I can sign the book to the buyer or a friend.
Contact me at, check my website at
I sell fine art prints from any of the images on my website or in my books. Thanks for reading this. Hey ho, let's go!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Easter Monkeys "Splendor of Sorrow"

The scene was Cleveland. The era, early 80s. The sound, punk swagger (meaning against-skull guitars) with expansive ideations. Why not plunge into jagged environs of greater complexity than many contemporaries (retaining all the while the brash mien)? Throw in blues swipes. It worked then. It works now. 15 vintage cuts, plus accompanying club gig DVD.

RECOMMENDED "Underpants," "My Baby Digs Graves"

-- DC Larson

Bonedome "Thinktakubator" (Summer Break)

Charged and deliriously ebullient lead-on "sandman" bursts in fully technicolor and cleverly collated spectacle. It rockets stratosphere-ward, only to shower/bombard reeling listeners with neon tonal sparks. Shards of felt hues jut from surrounding sod. Moods, paces, and inclinations whirl past like scattershot kaleidoscopic emissaries from plateaus uncharted yet universal. Progression with steely ambition, gold pot.

Recommended "Sandman, " "Steven"

-- DC Larson

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

(Reprinted CD review, following interview)


The Coolest place to hang out in Iowa may not come across as cool to other people, but to me cool is wherever I feel most ceneterd and at home. Chic is a state of mind....that said...the Greenbelt trail in Clive Iowa is where I go to walk for miles and miles all by myself to work outthings both creativly and personally and be close to nature during the barable seasons. I can don a big pair of sunglasses and go all Greta Garbo when I "Vant To Be Alone".


My favorite place to perform to date has been The Knitting Factory in NYC. I had the amazing honor to meet downtown legends as Deborah Harry and Joey Arias. The crowd was receptive. The venue was electic in energy, and the steep stairs leading to the stage...treturous in platform boots.


My favorite drink is easily Pantela "De Luxe Cigar Blend" Gautier. This is an Imported Cognac and, of course, impossible to find. So if anyone is thinking of gift ideas for me.....


Law I'd like to see enacted...I'd have to think about. I'd probably have to say stronger punishment for abuse to animals. I was really saddened by a judge in a recent case in Sioux City Iowa in which a man beat a puppy to death, and in sentencing the man to only 30 days in jail, the judge was actually quoted as saying, "we must remember this wasn't a human being." I was horrified by his lack of vision and scope when in regard to suffering and murder.


Other bands that I would recommend...truth be told I'm not all that hip to a lot of the other bands around here but I'd have to say that Strick9 has been pretty entertaining when I've seen them. Great hooks and clever lyrics.


My philosophy for life is still developing, thankfully. How's this?...Always be the star of your own life, never a supporting player.

DD Sparks
"Maximus Aquarius"(Magic Cabinet Records)
reviewed byDC Larson

(That DD Sparks, creator of the "Maximus Aquarius" character, is my brother in no way moves my critical hand.)

Craft is the thoughtful choreographer of creative impulse. Lacking it, one has only unfocused spark, unproductive energy.But braced by craft's intuitive calculatings, virginal musings assume perspective.

On each action strasse here located, one upturns treasures alurk: Shadow-draped glacial movements, fizzy percolations, spectral intonations -- each distinct shard locks into unseamed correspondence.

(And while head may be above-clouds, feet are maintained to terra firma by trenchant six-string coloration and reassuringly familiar sax testimonies.)

About, one spots splinters of Roxy Music, T Rex, and ELO. But only splinters. Influences are subservient to Aquarius's own striking demeanor.

At once darkly sagacious and wit-flecked, the observational time-trifler character -- a technicolor pastiche of Victorian elan and fantastic consciousness -- imprints the whole with uncanny lilt and commanding presence.

Craft revels in its peculiar reward.

RECOMMENDED "Cutting In the Blue," "Beloved Nemesis," "trick of the light," "dangerous angels"

-Author, "Poisoned Heart: I Married Dee Dee Ramone" (Phoenix Books)

Vera was married to Dee Dee throughout the punk legend's years with the Ramones. Their union ended only a couple of weeks before he left the group.

His imimitable songcraft -- uber-catchy pop hooks-as-urban angst/cartoonishly mannered yet touchingly poetic lyrical narratives -- contributed to the group's sonic/attitudinal definition and helped ensure its enduring legacy.

A few years ago, they were inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame. One today hears Ramones guitars in everything from contemporary punk combos to (as Vera herself points out) TV commercials.

After years of silence*, Vera now tells the story of those golden years. And while it's always interesting (for different reasons), it's sometimes more than a bit depressing. Recounted in sorrowful detail are Dee Dee's addiction-related travails -- which twisted both his personal and professional lives -- and occasionally abusive tendencies.

* In their introduction to Vera's book, former Talking Heads Chris Stein and Tina Weymouth (NYC friends and colleagues of Dee Dee and Vera) note that one legal requirement of Dee Dee and Vera's divorce was that he not speak publicly about her; that explains her total absence from his own book, "Poison Heart."

Recently, Vera spoke to Damnation Dance Party.

DDP: You write that Dee Dee "totally freaked out," when served with your divorce papers, and
that you feared he might stalk/attack you. I just read new statistics showing domestic
abuse up, with women being the primary victims and attempts to leave abusive
situations the leading cause.

Even given that potential danger, would you recommend women so victimized remove
themselves from the situation? (I don't mean to make you responsible for anyone's
circumstance, just interested in your informed insight.)

VERA: Everyone's situation is different and people have to make their own choices. In my case there were no children involved and it was much easier for me to remove myself if I believed I was in any danger. For others it's not so cut and dry to make that decision. I only did what I thought was the best for myself under the conditions I was living in.

DDP: You mention Dee Dee kept journals (at least for a time). Do you know if these (and/or
unused lyrics) still exist?

VERA: Actually, yes I still own a diary that he kept while he was on the road with Ramones that details what he did and what went on that particular tour. I believe it to be the ONLY one if it's kind in existance today.

DDP: Do you still have many friends from your days in the scene? Any you'd like to name?

VERA: I still have many good friends that I've kept in touch with over the couse of the years. Mickey Leigh (Joey Ramone's brother) and his wife Lene, Marky and Marian Ramone are also very close friends and Ritchie Ramone and his wife Annette Stark have also stayed close. Joey's girlfriend of many years has remained one of my best friends for the last twenty five years. Then of course there is Monte Melnick , their longtime road manager. I owe my life to that man!! There are others but too many to mention at this time.

DDP: In their intro to your book, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth note that Dee Dee asked to
rejoin the Ramones, after having quit in '89. I'd never read that, before. Comment?
(Several things might have turned out differently -- not necessarily better, but different.)

VERA: Dee Dee quit the band 2 weeks after we split up. I told him that it was a BIG mistake at the time but he was no longer on his medications and there was no reasoning with him or logic to what he was doing.

He did after a six months or so ask to rejoin the band but CJ Ramone had already taken his place by then and he was a lot less trouble to deal with; they didn't want Dee Dee back without me because he was completely uncontrollable at that time. Too hard to deal with and his erratic behaviour became something no one wanted to deal with anymore.

DDP: In Dee Dee's own book, he claims to have left when End of the Century was going to be
recorded, and to not know who ultimately played bass on that record. Your book
recounts him recording on it. Did he only play on some of it?

VERA: Dee Dee played on EVERY album until his departure in 1989, despite what you may have read or heard. He may have threatened to leave , but NEVER did! Besides, he wrote most of the songs on the albums and he even sang a lot of them towards the end.

DDP: Did he play on all other Ramones studio LPs?

VERA: Absolutely, positively!!! It was ALL Dee Dee playing!

DDP: From your account of the Ramones (and from others, including Dee Dee's), there
certainly seemed to be great storm and stress between the members. Did they
basically like each other? Why did they remain a band for as long as they did?

VERA: As with many bands, when you stay on the road together for So long at a time , it is only natural that it becomes a ground for hostility. There were also ego clashes and some differences of opinions regarding music and other things. However, at the end of the day they would always get up on that stage and play to their many fans. They NEVER wanted to let their fans down! After So many years together it was more than "just a band".

It became their business and their livelihood. It was WHAT they did! Plain and simple.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

For The Record


"The Afterdarks represent something that's gone from America -- an unwavering, unapologetic oath to self that a certain level of brutality thrives inside all of us and if it's forced to linger for too long, you're gonna get some kick ass rock'n'roll."
- Brian Krans, Rock Town Press/author, A Constant Suicide

PERSONNEL: Papa D - upright/electric bass, vocals
Dr. Nasty - guitar, vocals
Smokehaus - drums

BIO: Illinois/Iowa-based punkabilly outfit began in 2003. Has produced 4 EPs, 3 full-length

LATEST RECORDING: "Blood Sweat & Gears" (self) 2009


What's the coolest place to hang out, in the Quad Cities?

"We really like Rascal's Rock Memorabilia Club when we want to relax. Ken, the owner, runs a great sound, and is a former musician himself. RIBCO also stands high with Al Dimeo on sound."

Where's your favorite place to play? (Same as answer to Question #1?) Favorite recording studio?

"Same as #1. We record in our own studio to do the rough mix. Papa Darkness also has recorded other bands as well in the studio."

Favorite fast food? Favorite beer/drink?

"Nachos -- PBR -- hands down!"

Law you'd most like to see overturned?

"We are not really politically motivated, however child abuse tops our list. Strengthening and enforcing existing laws is great for us."

Law you'd like to see enacted?

"PBR must be the drink of choice at every dinner."

Other IL/IA bands you'd recommend?

"The One Night Standards, The Surf Zombies, Sarah Cram and the Derelicts, ZED, and a great bunch of kids in Marmaduke who do Led Zeppelin the way it should be done!"

Philosophy of life in 10 words or less?

"Performing is not a joke! It is an expression of self!"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review: The Burning Hotels "Novel"

DC Larson

It's not even necessary to enjoy all 11 tracks here to understand that the Burning Hotels' great accomplishment -- indeed, the quality that most persuasively touts them -- is the creation of consistently engaging pop melodizing that grabs up listeners and throttles them into bliss: jangling guitars, harmonies that endear, infectious constructions, and indefatigably shiny movement. Blindingly vivid, giddily animated. One appreciates participating.

(PS. Thanks to Kaytea xo for the tip!)