Punk Retrospective
13Apr/116

Interview: Dave Rave and Cups von Helm pt. 2

American Devices: 25 Year Retrospective

OK. Dave walked off for a bit to schedule his interview at KVMR in Nevada City, California and Cups and I are sitting at the dining room table talking...(Link to part 1)

Cups: Are you recording?

EDPR: Yep...

Cups: You mean right now? No, it's not recording right now?

EDPR: I've got 17 hours of tape...or whatever, whatever digital file...

Cups: 17 hours...and we've been at it how long?

EDPR: One hour and eight minutes.

Cups: God! I don't know if I can go another 16 hours.

EDPR: Whatever...you gonna wuss out on me? So, while we're waiting for Dave why don't you tell us the story about when you went to New York...

Cups: When I went to New York?

EDPR: Yeah, one time you went to New York...

Cups: There were a couple of times I went to New York, but there was this one time I remember, I was walking down the street with Rick and my good friend I haven't talked to in a while, Eric.

EDPR: That's a good question...are you still friends with these people that you used to be in a band with?

Cups: Yes!

EDPR: So you guys didn't split on bad terms?

Cups: No, no, not in the least...

EDPR: So it was all because you were moving to the states?

Cups: Yes. They thought I was quitting the band, but I said, "no, I'm not quitting, I'm just moving...I'm still a member of the band"..."Well, you won't be able to play with us"...

EDPR: You're still a member of the band?

Cups: (long pause) Well, if you want to mince words...

EDPR: Alright, so you're in New York...with Rick and Eric...

Cups: Yeah, we were with other people, too, but the three of us were walking along and we'd been brown-bagging it all day, you know, meaning that we're drinking all day, just beers, so we had a nice little glow to us and we're taking in all the romantic, you know all the, everything New York has to give you. All the people on the side of the street, you get to one corner and wait for a light to change and start talking to a person, if they wanted to talk to you, but usually they'd tell you to fuck off...whatever. But there's always people selling stuff on the street, so we're walking around looking at everything, taking it in when we came across this one guy. He's got his stuff on the ground, but then he had these playing cards and they were hermaphrodite playing cards, you know.

EDPR: Hermaphrodites...so these are men with breasts...

Cups: ...or women with pricks, whatever...one or the other, they're supposed to be both, right?

EDPR: Right, they're hermaphroditic...

Cups: Yeah, yeah, "Oh my god, a whole deck of playing cards!"...and we all sort of saw it at the same time and for some reason we all were fighting about this, he only had one deck. I guess we all reached for it at the same time and we couldn't figure out...

EDPR: ...who was going to pay for it..

Cups: No, no, we all paid for it, or, I forget who paid for it...that wasn't the question, it was who was going to acquire ownership...and I think we all saw it at the same time and we all wanted it. Because, oh my god, this is something special...if there's anything you're going to get in New York...I'd never even seen them, I never even knew they made these things. I had never seen a picture of a hermaphrodite in my life before that...suddenly, here's a whole bunch of 'em and we're like, "Look at that one, look at that one!" This is before Photoshop, right, so I mean...

EDPR: So they're real..

Cups: Yeah, they must be real, so we ended up splitting the deck three ways, and we're doing that and we're walking up the street, you know, and we couldn't fight over each individual card, so we shuffled the deck and just split it into 3's, made sure everybody had at least as much as everybody else and we're all looking at them and then, as we're walking along the street and there's this big building, whatever it is and we ran straight into Joey Ramone!

EDPR: What? You ran straight into Joey Ramone?

Cups: One of us ran straight into him, I mean bumped into him, literally. It was the side door of some place, I don't even know what it was. Rick's bobbing and weaving with the poetry he has in his mind mixed in with all the brown-bagging he'd been doing all day and he can't believe it's Joey and he's holding these cards. I guess Eric said something to him, I'm not sure and then I went up to Joey, I had this idea, for some reason or another I wanted him to sign one of the cards, but since I was a little bit slower than Joey, at that particular point, I said, "Joey, can you write..." and then Joey said to me, "Yeah, I can write!" (Dave bursts out laughing) I was going to say can you write your name on there, but I couldn't figure out how to ask him! Could you put your autograph on there...can you write...yeah, I can write...and I showed him the cards and he took a card off and then he signed it, right, maybe he didn't even give it back to me, because I don't even know where it is. Then, there are these girls, they're in a big black stretch limousine, it was there, well, maybe it wasn't so stretch, maybe it was my imagination, I know it was black, couldn't have been white. Then we see the girls, they must have been puny because they're going (high pitch) "Joey, Joey, Joey, come on Joey", you know, they had like these little voices. So, that was either one thing I experienced in New York or I just made it up....because I can't find those hermaphrodite cards anywhere!

DR: (laughing) Who cares if it's made up, it's true!

Cups: No, but I had a signed hermaphrodite card from Joey Ramone! Where is it? I'm kicking myself in the head...wouldn't that be one of the most precious things, but of course, I can't remember what I did the rest of the night...

EDPR: Precious in a sick kind of way...

Cups: Not so sick...it's inquiring minds! It's like, your going down and it's like, "Oh my god, look at those playing cards!" it's just like, that's New York for you. I was trying to ask Dave, "What's the thing with New York?" But, New York is vibrant, I'll answer the question the way I wanted him to...it's vibrant, it's just like, the characters in New York from one corner to the next corner, whether it be a grandma of 89 years-old, she's got so much friggin' character, I don't know what it is. Why?

EDPR: Everyone from the grandma on the corner to the hermaphrodites on the playing cards are all characters...

DR: It's a city of characters, man...it really is, totally...

Cups: I think New York shapes you...

EDPR: Do you think New York shapes the world?

Cups: Shapes the east coast anyways...I don't know about the world...

EDPR: I mean, what do you think the repercussions of what you were doing in the late '70's were on the rest of the world? Once it starts hitting, you know, Husker Du coming out of Minneapolis, you've got all these bands coming out across the United States, southern California that are basically emulating the stuff that you guys were doing, right?

Cups: Who really gives a shit?

(Cups and Dave are having quite a good laugh over that one...I must remain earnest...)

EDPR: All I know is, you guys were ten years ahead of me and the stuff you guys were doing shaped my life...

Cups: Oh, you gave a shit...ok...I guess I don't know...

DR: It's hard to say, you know, I think when your just trying to play a gig, you're just making the best music you can make, right. You don't always realize all the implications...we're just going to go down and have some fun tomorrow, somebody might see that show we play and think, "Wow, I didn't know that could be done in this modern world". It might even mean more now than it did back then. You know what I mean, every time you do something it means something.

Cups: I gotta tell you one thing, though. Back when I was playing with the Devices, I was more on the kind of sense that I wanted to play music for the audience. Rick was more about fuckin' 'em up, more about giving them what they didn't want. So, we'd write songs with a hook and he'd write something in to tear that hook apart so he could watch them on the dance floor dancing and then all of a sudden awkward...

EDPR: Not dancing...

Cups: Yes! (Cups starts dancing) and then they bend and they don't know what to do! "What, what? What's wrong...what do we do now?" and then they're just standing there and then they're just about to walk away and we go back to the hook...but eventually, I mean, how many times can you play that song? "Oh, you're gonna play that song again, you ain't getting me on the dance floor!" But he used to do that all the time...he liked it and I used to have, well, not big fights with him, but I would just go, "Come on, Rick, let's just do a song that, you know, just play." No, never.

DR: Yeah, that's not the way the Devices were, but you know that was legit. People were doing all different kinds of things. You had everything from the Ramones, which was a great rockn'roll/pop punk to the Devices, which were not straight forward, they were bending the music. I think that's what made that music interesting...punk rock interesting. You had that wide range of people doing different things and making it valid...as long as it was what you want.

EDPR: People were exploring what the boundaries might be..

DR: Yeah...

EDPR: So, now...nowadays, do you think, I mean, I know there are people that are still doing that, but do you think it's as prevalent as it was in that time period?

DR: Boundaries? Like still breaking boundaries?

EDPR: Or are all the boundaries gone?

DR: No, everybody that comes from each generation hears differently. They'll make new rules. Miles (Heather and Cups' son) is going to hear it differently and when he gets to playing music he'll make his own rules. He'll take everything he heard from us and he's going to make it his own. He'll make his own version of punk rock or whatever he likes and it'll be revolutionary and there will be a whole new set of rules. We'll be like, "No, that's not the way it was done!", but he won't care what we think, he's gonna make it his own way...and that's the beauty of it.

EDPR: (To Miles) Do you give a shit how we think it should be done?

DR: He's already making his own music already. He was singing all weekend, he plays whatever chords he wants in his own style. It's like the Velvet Underground all over, man! I love it, I do! I think it's all there for the attack.

EDPR: It's good to see kids with the...you can talk out loud Miles...

Miles: Goodnight...

EDPR: OK, for Dave...I have a question from one of the contributing authors of Punk Retrospective, from Cribs, he's a Canadian. He's a big fan, by the way. He called you "legendary". So, here's his first question...Was there a sense of camaraderie in the Canadian scene, like, did the Shakers and Teenage head hang out with D.O.A., the Forgotten Rebels and the Viletones, for instance?

DR: Well, in the beginning days, the Viletones and Teenage Head were two of the starting bands, so there was a healthy competition. Rebels came a little bit later, again, a little healthy competition. There was always a camaraderie because we were the only bands...

EDPR: What about when Deja Voodoo came in...

DR: That was a little later on...in the 80's.

EDPR: So, in that beginning thing there was competition, but friendship?

DR: There were friendships, I mean, I remember Nazi Dog...

(Another goodnight to Miles)

DR: I remember, we'd all be hanging out, but there was competition between the different cities, we were Hamilton, they were Toronto. Hamilton had a whole other world, than Toronto did. Montreal had its world. Vancouver had its scene. Just in the way the Dead Kennedys were different from the Ramones, you know what I mean. But I always try to keep an open mind and listen to everybody and take what you like. There were bands in Toronto I didn't particularly care about, and bands in Hamilton I didn't care about, but we'd try to always go listen to them. Anybody you do have an affinity with you try and start a camaraderie with, it was good. Then, when a new band would come up, some of them didn't want to be friends with you and some of them you wanted to be friends with. You became friends...I used to love going to Montreal, because it's a great city, so I always enjoyed it. A great city to hang out in, the bands were good, lot of good guys there. So depending on where it was...I mean, New York was its own world, so back in that time those people really were hard to be friends with.

EDPR: Cliquey?

DR: Yeah, there were always cliques.

EDPR: So, do you think that was happening in every city?

DR: Yeah, sure, there was a clique in every city and when the band came in they'd say, "Prove to me that you're good." You know, there'd be a whole bunch of naysayers, and then you'd play and they'd say, "Ah, you're ok." It was a bit intimidating, in a way.

EDPR: Were you playing with Teenage Head during either of the riots?

DR: Not the...well, which riots?

EDPR: '78 and '81...one is in a film, Last Pogo: 1978 Horseshoe Tavern

DR: Oh, the Pogo in Toronto, no, I wouldn't have been at that, I had my own band by that time.

EDPR: So, you were sitting in the recording studio, playing on every album, basically...

DR: Yeah, at first they played with us. Hamilton was a closer camaraderie because it was a smaller city. We all played with each other...

EDPR: You weren't out on tour with them?

DR: Not at the beginning, but I did go on the road with them, I did go at times, even back then.

EDPR: Another Punk Retrospective contributor, LastofmyKind wonders if there are any almost finished demos or early stuff from back then...

DR: Oh yeah...

EDPR: ...and if there are any leftover songs from the first three...

DR: ...albums? Yeah...there's a few...

EDPR: ...and he says he would love to have a listen to it...so, maybe you could leak some of it?

DR: You know, there's "Wake Up, Shut Up", which never came out, and there are a couple others, umm, "Jet 45"...there's some songs that didn't, what else was around? Yeah, there were definitely songs...

EDPR: I had read that Gord had a bunch of unreleased stuff and was thinking about releasing it?

DR: Yeah, that'll happen in about 2090...

EDPR: The last time you saw him was about 2008, you guys played together or 2009?

DR: Yeah, I played with him at the Grey Cup two years ago...

EDPR: You're still friends with pretty much everyone that's still around?

DR: Yeah, the band, we're in a small city, so when we go home everybody sort of knows each other and, you know, he works at the guitar shop of the guy that promotes my shows and I know Chris Houston, he works at that guitar shop. When Heather and Carl come in, they'll run into people, too, right?

Cups: It's a city of rock stars, I'll tell you, Hamilton...

EDPR: How big is this place?

Cups: Hamilton?

DR: It's about a half a million?

Cups: It's about a quarter bigger than Grass Valley...

Heather: No...

DR: No, you know what, if you took the whole city, but the real downtown, west end, it's probably about 300,000...

EDPR: Wow..ok, here's kind of a bastardization of another question from LastofmyKind, he says...You guys were all from the same neighborhood, same high school...were you listening to the same stuff the other kids in the school were listening to?

DR: No.

EDPR: I mean, obviously there's the influence of the Flamin' Groovies, but what were you primarily listening to that led to the formation of the Shakers and Teenage Head, and did that change over the first few years when punk really started coming around?

DR: Pretty well the same things Carl was into, but that wasn't common music at the time, the Dolls, Iggy, [play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Dictators/dictators-bloodbrothers-05-stay_with_me.mp3]Dictators and then eventually the Ramones, when punk started coming in. We also liked the bands from Britain, the good ones that came over, so, everybody was sort of tuned into the same radio station or the same bunch of records, didn't matter where you were from. It was only small groups of people in each city were listening to the same records...isn't that right? There weren't that many people in Montreal listening to what you were back then?

Cups: Didn't you just tell me the other day you were a big Yes fan when you were back there?

DR: Yes?

Cups: Yeah, Yes fan...

DR: I, well, um, we were, god...we went and saw Yes, King Crimson, too...

Cups: I'm just joking...yeah, King Crimson...

EDPR: Here's the thing I think my two two friends from Canada that are asking you these questions want you to say is...Flamin' Groovies were frickin' awesome...

DR: Yeah...

EDPR: Dave Edmunds..

DR: Dave Edmunds was definitely awesome...

Cups: ...he's a big fan of Dave Edmunds...

EDPR: Gene Vincent

DR: Nick Lowe, I still like Nick Lowe...

EDPR: The way they, or I, feel is that you were reaching back into the '50's and pulling up everything that's good about...

DR: Yeah, Gene Vincent. Well, you see, because what happened was everybody listened to what was current and then the Flamin' Groovies were a band that were again, not everybody was listening to them, they were a cool band. Then what happened is all the records from the '50's started getting revived around the mid-'70's, so we started hearing Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Elvis...and then Robert Gordon came around, he was a rockabilly guy, but he was in the punk era...

EDPR: Carl Perkins...

Cups: Eddie Haskell from Leave It to Beaver...

DR: Oh, definitely...

EDPR: Beaver to Bieber

DR: ...and then Peter Case's band, the Nerves...

EDPR: Oh, yeah, the Nerves!

Which is which?Cups: I can't believe that nobody has taken a picture of Justin Bieber and Leave It to Beaver and put them next to each other...do that for the interview...Cups says I can't figure out which one is who...I keep on getting them mixed up!

DR: Leave It to Bieber!

Cups: I think that's where he got it, I bet his name's not really Justin...it's probably like, John Beaver...we can't call him John Beaver, we'll have to change the whole family...

EDPR: Uhh, next question...furthering that last one, Heather is pushing me along...from Cribs...and actually, you've probably already answered a lot of this, but...

DR: Go ahead...

EDPR: What were you listening to in the late '70's that influenced the Shakers and the Dave Rave Conspiracy? Do you have any plans to re-release "Valentino's Pirates" again, last was 2001, and the Shakers debut?

DR: Yeah, we're gonna do both. At that time we listened to Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Squeeze, uh, you know, Shakin' Stevens, the guy out of England, he put out this cool rockabilly stuff, Robert Gordon, the Stray Cats, when they started coming out...listened to all those records, everyone liked those ones. As well as the punk stuff, the Ramones were still making great records, all of 'em, you know, Clash, they were all making good records at that time.

Cups: But I thought they all died? The Ramones, aren't they all dead?

DR: ...all dead...now, but he was asking about '79...

Cups: Oh, '79...

EDPR: I'm jumping through time here, Carl...

DR: So, yeah, it was all those bands, plus we were listening to all the new punk bands that were coming up from, you know, like L.A. So there were a lot of good bands, that was a fun time, it was good music actually. Even Cheap Trick had some good records...

EDPR: Oh yeah, even the commercial rock was okay at that point, it seems like...

DR: Sylvain Syvain made some great records, Johnny Thunders was making great records, David Johansen, they were all making records, solo records, they were all good, we loved them all.

EDPR: Alright, ummm...

DR: Dwight Twilley...

EDPR: Who?

Cups & DR: Dwight Twilley, remember they had that one record, "I'm on Fire".

EDPR: What about Conway Twitty?

DR: Yeah, I like Conway Twitty...

Cups: He's an old school guy...he's down there with the truckers...

DR: Johnny Cash...

Cups: Who's the old country guy down with the truckers?

DR: David Dudley

Cups: It's like, I'm "Two Six Packs Away" from my babe...

DR: That's right...

EDPR: OK, I have a question and I want all of you Canadians to answer in unison...all three of you, Heather, Carls, Cups, Carl, Dave...is there one Canadian artist that everyone in the United States should know about that we don't know about?

(stuttering, mumbling...)

EDPR: He's like the core of Canada...

Heather: I know, I know!

Finally, in unison: Stompin' Tom!

EDPR: What is it about Stompin' Tom?

DR: Oh, come on...

EDPR: OK, what's the best song Stompin' Tom ever did?

Cups: Oh, the french fry one, "Ketchup Loves Potatoes", he wrote a love song about french fries loving ketchup. Then he wrote another about the The Moon-Man Newfie (The Man In The Moon Is A Newfie).

EDPR: What I've heard of him, he sounds like American country, like a Johnny Cash...so, how is it these three punk rockers from the old days are in love with Stompin' Tom?

Cups: Well, he's a folklorist, you know, he used to travel and he writes songs going up and down the coast from one side to the other. He wrote songs about every province and a lot of cities...he wrote songs about Canada and he wrote them with compassion and honesty. He was funny...great patter, great showman. He played in the hotels by himself, just him, his guitar and his beat. He'd bang his one cowboy boot into the stage. I think this is how the story goes...he was playing one hotel, he was playing there so much the hotel owner thought he was going to wear a hole in the stage, because he always liked sitting in the middle of the round stage. Stompin' Tom told him, well, I gotta keep a beat, so the hotel owner gave him a plank to stomp on and then he got another sound off the plank. Then he started traveling with a plank. When I saw him live, he'd come out with his black hat, take it off and wave it at the crowd with one hand, and in the other was the plank. He'd slap it down and they'd mic the board, which meant they were basically miking his heel...so that was Stompin' Tom.

DR: Like Carl was saying...each song was individual to each area, he was like a Chuck Berry, writing about the Canadian experience.

EDPR: Were there other folklorists like him?

DR: Well, he's the major one...

Cups: Well, you don't forget about Lightfoot...

DR: Yeah, Gordon Lightfoot, but he wrote a lot about America, too.

Cups: Yeah, but Gordon Lightfoot never got a laugh out of me, I mean, you can't put on one of his records and start laughing and have a party like you can with Stompin' Tom.

DR: Yeah, Gordon Lightfoot didn't have humor like Stompin' Tom, Stompin' Tom had humor...

Cups: Just like the Ramones...

EDPR: I might just do a dot, dot, dot about this section...but it's pretty amazing that the two of you, coming from different sounding bands would each have members that feel this pull towards a man that doesn't really have anything to do with that type of scene...you know a punk scene...

Cups: Oh, Tom was a punk...in his own way he's a punk. He loved everyone but he was hard...We love our Stompin' Tom!

EDPR: OK, so now I have a couple more questions for Dave, from the columnists, and to me they almost sound disrespectful...

DR: That's ok, go ahead...I can take it, I've been disrespected my whole life...

EDPR: Since the Shakers had a similar sound, but didn't have the notoriety, do you think Teenage Head was helped by the two riots? Horseshoe and Ontario Place, and the punk label, even though they became pretty commercial? So, maybe it's not...

DR: Oh, I don't think that's disrespectful...I mean, they both were two different styles, I think what it was is Teenage Head had a little heavier guitar sound and as a result I think they could cross more boundaries. You could be a guy who liked punk and like Teenage Head, but also, don't forget, at that time there was still a big hard rock, like you could like Triumph, for example and like Teenage Head, because they still had that drive, a pumpin' drive. Teenage Head was more like a new wave band, like a new wave Dave Edmundsy kind of thing. Actually, the Shakers did better in Europe, as imports, like when I was in Italy year a guy was telling me how much he loved them...

EDPR: What do you think the major difference in the sound was then? I mean, yeah, it's the guitar, more distorion...

DR: Yeah, Teenage Head had that, and both had the rockabilly, but back in those times there were still a lot of rock bars, and Teenage Head could do that anywhere in Canada, and still can.

EDPR: By doing covers?

DR: No, no...by doing their own stuff. See, their songs were getting played on rock radio. Teenage Head could still get the headbangers and the punkers, and in the long run that's why Teenage Head outlasted the punk revolution. They could go to Edmonton, go to Calgary, Winnepeg...all the towns and do that rockin' thing. So, if you didn't like punk rock at all, you could still like Teenage Head.

Heather: Yeah...

DR: They transferred into the rock world where a lot of the other punk bands in Canada couldn't. Gordy Lewis was a very good guitar player. He could transfer that Iggy thing into main stream...that's a talent to be able to do that. The way the Stones could do it, how they could take Chuck Berry and make it bigger than Chuck Berry. Teenage Head could do that same thing, they could get that riff.

EDPR: I've heard that some of the opening chords to Teenage Head's songs are as well known as the Canadian anthem...

DR: Yeah, right...so, that's a big part of Teenage Head's sound, I understand it, I played in both bands so I can see the energy that both bands brought. We brought more of a rockabilly, fun, dancing kind of thing, so a lot of our fans were girls, where they had guys, as well as girls. So the guys could hang out on Gord's end of the stage and the girls could hang out on Steve's end. With the Shakers, we could always get girls, because we were playing more of that Dave Edmonds, Squeeze, Ramones...you know, we could bring all of those elements in. We weren't a riff band.

EDPR: The strange thing to me is, it seems as time progressed politics became a bigger part of punk, but it never seemed to with Teenage Head, or most Canadian punk until D.O.A. or Subhumans and then even more so with bands like Propagandhi. What is your feeling about politics in rockn'roll?

DR: Well, one of the reasons it didn't effect Canada as much is because it's a different world. We're a smaller country. The only politics, really, was in Quebec, because of that separation.

EDPR: Were there punk bands on either side of that Quebec separation?

DR: Well, Mickey, the guy in the Rebels sort of had in him a political thing, but it was more ironic than it was serious. So it was all a tongue in cheek point of view. Our world, really, you have to remember it's a small country, we only really had one major market we were playing to and that was Toronto. Some of the Toronto bands that stuck around there did get a little bit political, but it was more the political, like womens' rights, and maybe like feel good kind of political, or political correctness...like Parachute Club had "Rise Up, Rise Up" and it was sort of like more gay anthems, they sort of took that in the mid-80's, that whole equal rights, gay rights, more that kind of thing instead of political rights. That was one of the problems with bands we had, because you have to remember who we're playing to. Say one night we might be playing in Hamilton, and we have a certain audience, then Toronto, the next place we'd play was a place nobody's ever heard of called Hagersville, which was as big as...how many people would you say Heather?

Heather: 800 people...

DR: 800 people in that town...and they were basically farmers...and they really wanted to hear the Allman Brothers. At that point, what we were doing, they hadn't even heard of Elvis Costello, yet, or Squeeze, or any of these bands. So, we were coming in there playing this kind of music and they're looking at you like, "Where's the boogie rock, baby?" You see, Teenage Head could sort of get away with that, because they had that hard guitar and the sound was more familiar...they could hear a thing in it. Then, after playing Hagersville, you're in Port Dover, think about these places, I mean, that's even smaller...

EDPR: OK, so here's what I want to hear from you right now. I want to hear from you guys, just being kids, to your interest in music and this splintering off into you being the Shakers and them being Teenage Head and then you coming back together. How that all happened, because it's really unclear on the internet. It's almost like you're this guy who was kind of their pal, but they did all this stuff, and then you came in later and destroyed the band...

DR: Well, that's probably a good way to put it.

EDPR: Well, that's how it's out there...

DR: That's probably good...

EDPR: You think so?

DR: Probably to some degree. Nah, I think what happened probably was that the band had a core audience, it was a punk rock audience, in the beginning, and then from there it got mainstream, like the band got more popular and reached outside the punk audience...and then it lost the initial spark of the punk days and, umm, what ended up happening was, then, if I put it correctly...

Heather: It was the singer...

DR: Yeah, and so, the band...Heather was there, she remembers all that stuff probably better than I do, because she was...well, maybe you don't, we probably remember the same thing. But, what ended up happening was they were doing that thing at the same time I was doing the Shakers. Teenage Head could, because of that sort of thing of the groove that they could get into, they could reach a mainstream audience, but as they moved on lyrically the band changed. The band, in the beginning, was writing about what was in front of them, which was partying...and so then, in the Shakers thing, because it was hard to break out of that, at that time, umm, the environment that we were in, when you break out of...really what we should have done was go to England right away, and Europe right away, but we had no idea, because there was nobody telling us anything, what to do. When we finally made the break in that band, to where it was successful, the guitar player quit the band...at this...as the moment was starting to happen, so the band never got a chance to really connect with that. It's as if Johnny Ramone quit just as they put out their big album.

EDPR: Or like when Ian Curtis hung himself the night before the big U.S. tour...

DR: That's right, yeah...and then Teenage Head had a tragedy in them, too, Gord Lewis got in a car accident. So, if you take that backdrop, the market for what we were doing was still very tough to break and if you look at Teenage Head, being now commercial, because the radio stations are playing them, when we all joined forces we just tried to do the best we could do to bring the energy back...and, for a couple of years it was pretty good. Then the rot set in, because of just inertia, really, and the singer got tired and the drummer got tired and they left the band. So, they looked at me and said, "Can you keep the band going?" and I said, "OK". So, I kept the band going, until, you know, we made a final record, which people seemed to like...and then we'd done our time and it was time to move on...but, then they regrouped after that and continued on and really never made any more records after that, they just played those first three albums until Frank died.

EDPR: So, then, why would you take the blame for that?

DR: Well, it's better me...

EDPR: Better you than them?

DR: Might as well. Why not? You know, I don't care, I don't mind taking the blame. You know, it's ok.

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Dave%20Rave%20Group/10%20Love%20Fades.mp3] Dave Rave Group - Love Fades Link source from Dave Rave Group - Everyday Magic

So, that's hour 2...the conversation about the demise of Teenage Head will continue in the next installment. I've read some interesting, sometimes contradictory, bits on Facebook regarding the trip to New York Cups was talking about...maybe interested parties would like to jump in and comment here?

Below is a link to the American Devices: 25 Year Retrospective complete with explicit lyrics...Amazon is too cheap to drop an image of the sleeve in, here's what I have:
American Devices: 25 Year Retrospective

Buy directly from the American Devices here! For more "specialized" requests e-mail Rick Trembles at ricktrembles@hotmail.com ...I'll add more Devices songs as they become available...

Collectible American Devices @ GEMM

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Comments (6) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Thanks for a great insight on Dave Rave and Cups von Helm!
    Enjoyed this!

  2. Great Stuff….I would LOVE to get a copy of either Wake Up, Shut Up”or “Jet 45” but I don’t think that’s gonna happen…..can’t wait for part 3…

    • Yeah, I forgot to follow up on that more…maybe I’ll contact him and start a little fire. Part 3 should be good, it goes further into what happened from another perspective…I’m happy with how the interview went and how it’s breaking down…lucky accidents!

  3. Great interview EDPR. Absolutely no disrespect intended with that question. I distinctly remember being drawn to Teenage Head because of their punk spirit, but then later on thinking they kind of sold out with the commercial airplay and when the “other” crowd started digging them. But that’s what kids did and still do. We like things until they are successful. I started high school in 1980 in Toronto and Frantic City was huge, but I kind of tuned out with Some Kinda Fun. We wanted the heavier stuff, whether it be punk or metal. Now of course I love Frantic, but when you’re young it takes a lot to hold your attention.

    • Thanks, Cribs! Yeah, I knew it wasn’t meant that way, it was a hard question to ask, but not as hard as the last one…I’m still not sure where that even came from. It’s true, the purists always abandon successful bands…and they have every right. I know, for myself, when Nirvana and Green Day went to the majors I felt some stupid sense of betrayal…not my bands, not my life, but somehow I always felt they belonged to me…ignorance…


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