Punk Retrospective
13Apr/116

Interview: Dave Rave and Cups von Helm pt. 2

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

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

1Apr/116

Interview: Dave Rave & Cups von Helm pt.1

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

On March 2, 2011, ElDorkoPunkRetro had a chance to meet with two of the founding fathers of Canada's early punk scene. What follows is an edited account of the interview, which lasted 5 hours and 15 minutes. Here's the first hour...

EDPR: OK, so I’m sitting here with Dave Rave and Cups von Helm, two important figures from the beginning of the Canadian punk scene. Dave has been in several notable bands, including the Shakers, Teenage Head and The Dave Rave Conspiracy…and Cups, Carl…is the notorious drummer for The American Devices. You guys have any problem with that description of yourselves?

DR: No!

Cups: You forgot the "von".

EDPR: I said it! Look, it's right there!

Cups: Oh, you said it? I've got a hearing problem...interview over...now you know the whole story!

EDPR: So you don't mind being considered part of the punk scene?

DR: Certainly, don't mind that at all.

EDPR: Would you consider Shakers and Teenage Head punk?

DR: Teenage Head was more punk than the Shakers, because the Shakers came a little after, and they were more in the new wave movement around the time of '78-'79, and Teenage Head came in '76-'77.

EDPR: Cups?

Cups: Yeah?

EDPR: Punk rocker?

Cups: (long pause) Yeah, yeah, I...you know, when I was in the Devices I was playing with Rick and he loved punk.

EDPR: Rick Trembles..

Cups: Yes, and Rob (Labelle) loved the new wave and I loved glam rock...I loved the craziness of all the music coming out at that time, cuz it was all coming out real fast and then there was the Ramones. They were around before I even started playing, which was in 1980, and the first time I saw them I almost peed my pants, because...they were the whole package.

DR: I agree, totally agree with that.

EDPR: I’m a lot younger than you guys, like 10 years younger, so, what do you think was, well you would know… what was going on in the world and Canada, that caused this emergence of punk rock? It seems like it was something that just suddenly appeared in New York, England, Australia…Canada…you know, all over.

DR: From Hamilton, when we were going to school, there was a magazine called 'Rock Scene'. "Rock Scene" would be a magazine that showed pictures of bands in New York, but we didn't hear the music. There were pictures of the Ramones, Blondie, Television, Talking Heads, uh, the Marbles, all the bands that were playing New York, mixed in with the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, all the sort of current rock bands. So we were wondering, who are these bands?, what were they doing? and all of the sudden we're looking at 'the Ramones go to get pizza at the Bowery pizzeria, um, you know, Blondie are playing at CBGB's, David Johansen is hanging out with the Talking Heads...so, we were very curious what these bands, these pictures of these guys that looked really cool, sounded like. Finally in '76, that summer, end of the summer, the Ramones first album came out...remember the first album and heard 'Blitzkrieg Bop' and like 'aaahhh, that's what it was!' and the reaction was exactly what Carl said, you know, we just flipped out. It was so cool and it matched the picture of what these bands looked like. And each band eventually got a record out, and they were all good bands, all of 'em, in their own way, unique in their own way.

Cups: Yeah, but there were the New York Dolls...

DR: Yeah, they were the originators..

Cups: ...before the Ramones...and there was Iggy Pop

DR: ...Iggy, yeah, so leading to... those bands in New York, Carl's right

Cups: ...before the Ramones...

DR: ...those bands in New York, Carl's right...Carl, you pick it up...

Cups: Pick up what?

DR: You were just saying there were the Dolls...

EDPR: What I hear you saying is there's like, Iggy Pop and the Dolls

DR: The Dictators

EDPR: ...MC5, caused this whole explosion around the globe?

Cups: I think it's all Richard Hell's fault, though...it's all his fault.

DR: Why?

Cups von Helm - 1984Cups: Because he probably, you know, Malcolm McLaren was probably in love with Richard Hell, went back to Britain and he, you know, told Johnny "good looking" Rotten boy I need my little Richard Hell boy here in England. But really, for me it was, of course, the Rolling Stones, but then the Playhouse of the Rolling Stones, the Playhouse Dolls, the New York Dolls, they come out, they were so funny and so glam rock. They didn't take themselves seriously like Bowie would, or the Rolling Stones, even, and they trashed it out and made more noise than any band around, at that time. The Ramones would have gave them the money, but they came before the Ramones. They were finished by the time the Ramones came around. So, I remember waiting for that next New York Dolls album, just like waiting for the next Rolling Stones album, like in '71 & '72. Still, later on I remember waiting for "Too Much, Too Soon"...it was a great name for the album because...it was, I mean [play-button:http://thevaguecd.com/mp3/Trash.mp3] Trash was a big hit for them.

DR: Trash, wont pick it up, don't throw...yeah, that was it...

Cups: So, they came up with "Too Much, Too Soon" and they all fell apart (laughs), but the New York Dolls were fun.

DR: And then Iggy..Raw Power and the first two records and then he disappeared (laughs) after the third album, Raw Power and then everybody was waiting for something to happen. Next thing you know, we started hearing from these bands from New York.

EDPR: When you really think about it, who came first? I mean, you've got the Saints down in Australia, you've got all these bands out of England, you've got the Ramones and you've got the Dead Boys in the mid-west and then Teenage Head up in Canada.

DR: The original New York bands all started around '74, because, Television, after the Dolls broke up, as Carl was sayin'...the whole New York scene fell apart because everybody was expecting them to be the next big thing. When Television were looking for a place to play there were no bars in New York to play, so they went to CBGB's.

Cups; That was Television, though, wasn't that Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell. They were playing together and they needed a place to play, so they found this old broken down Country, Bluegrass (pause)

DR: Blues

Cups: Blues, that's what CBGB's stands for, and there was hardly anybody in there and the guys would say they wanted to play there. they'd say "blah blah you can't play"..."well, we'll bring people", so they gave 'em one show and all of a sudden they brought people and packed the place and he's like "ah shit, you can play here anytime." Haha, you know, "My bar's full." And that was it, they started bringing in all their friends, everybody that wanted to play and anybody that didn't know how to play, or whatever...

DR:Yeah, so once they, once slowly other bands started coming to...see that was before they called it punk, between '74 and '76.

Cups: You think they picked that hole in the wall because, "wow, this is a great hole in the wall"?

DR: Yeah, they just needed a place to play.

Cups: I mean, I know it's New York and everything is just like wow, it's hard to get any (unintelligible) it's nothing bigger than, you know, a band that has no money found a place they could play because the place had no money. It was just a broken down bar.

DR: So, yeah, to answer your question, most of the bands, the original bands of that era sorta came from New York. Like Television and eventually the Ramones, the Shirts who were from Brooklyn, the Talking Heads, Blondie, Patti Smith eventually started coming over...that's sort of the beginning, really.

EDPR: Would you say the stuff you were doing, in the beginning, was influenced by those bands, or was it influenced by bands further back?

DR: Well, it's the same as Carl, we were listening to the bands like the Dolls, Iggy, Alice Cooper, some Bowie, all the 70's bands, the Dictators, Queen, early Queen, right, "Sheer Heart Attack" before the...

Cups: Speak for yourself...

DR: Didn't you ever listen to that album?

Cups: Queen?

DR: I mean, I'm talking about parties, you would hear those albums at parties, you know, and then mix that in with whatever else was going on at the time. You know, early '70's and mix in some MC5.

Cups: You know, in my band, Rick loved "Raw Power", he loved the Stooges. I don't know how many times we listened, over and over, he'd always play it. Have a couple beers, feeling, OK, "I wanna hear somethin' loud" and so many times it would be "Raw Power". He'd look at me like I'd be the boringest person in the world if I turned around and put on a Rolling Stones album. He's just like "uggh", you know, I'm selling out, but then we both agreed when we'd listen to the New York Dolls, or Richard Hell, stuff like that...or MC5, you're right, don't leave MC5 out. But the Saints weren't around as much...

DR: Until later on..

Cups: Yeah, yeah, later on...even though they're an older band, I don't remember, only when, punk, people got smaller groups together and there was more community from like...

DR: ...other areas...

Cups: Yeah, from England to America to Canada and then that really started happening, wouldn't you say? All these smaller groups started getting together...

EDPR: OK, well here's another thing, I looked this up today: Wikipedia says: Hamilton was also an important centre of punk rock in the 1970s and early 1980s, spawning influential acts such as Teenage Head, Forgotten Rebels, Simply Saucer and The Dik Van Dykes. Have you ever heard of them?

DR: Yeah, yeah, they were later on.

EDPR: What do you think it is about that area that made it such a hotbed of creativity? I mean, punk was a huge burst of creative, rebellious energy, yet Hammer Town is largely industrial…how are those facts related?

DR: Heather Holmes, to the microphone...

**So, we're introducing a new character here in this interview. Heather is married to Carl (Cups) living in California. She was a staple of the Hamilton and Montreal punk scenes and will give some valuable insights as we move forward. OK, back to the interview...

HeatherHeather: Everyone's father worked at a steel mill. Everybody was working class. Everybody was blah...

EDPR: So, why are they suddenly punk rock?

Heather: It was just raw. Raw energy.

Cups: They're just rock n' roll...

Heather: It was already raw enough in Hamilton, it was already raw.

DR: They were already punks...and it's still like that. Hamilton hasn't changed.

Heather: Everybody was so working class, you know, blue collar, so this art just flourished. There was this era where everybody's dad worked in a steel mill and thought, "I'm not gonna do that with my life", so they picked up a guitar.

EDPR: So, is it that the parents had a good enough job that pays a decent wage and a good enough home, so they can afford instruments?

DR: People there were in the union, but that wasn't like an aspirational thing. Like, you didn't want to be doing that kind of work.

Heather: You're going to break the mold.

Cups: OK, let me ask you a question...

DR: (laughs)

EDPR: Yeah, what?

Cups: You keep on saying "punk rock", right?

EDPR: I'm trying to get this reaction, because when I listen to your band, Carl...

Cups: Cups...

EDPR: It doesn't sound like stereotypical punk...right? And when I listen to either Teenage Head or the Shakers I hear Gene Vincent, I hear rockabilly roots, I hear...you know, I don't know what it is I hear in American Devices.

Cups: Let me tell you just one thing, OK, because punk, way back, you're going right back to the Ramones, right, and then they came out with that magazine, "Punk", you know, that fanzine, and they started calling it stuff like that. You could put people like Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, because it was an attitude, how they projected to the audience. The term "punk rock" starts becoming a good thing to be, because, I mean, to label it, because there's a lot of these young bands. Kids would say they couldn't play, but they could play, but they wanted that noisy sound or that hard crunch of rock 'n roll, but they were young kids. Might as well call 'em punks, but like, whatever, actually it was an attitude. But later on, down the line when it was new wave it was kinda like punk rock, it was different. Everyone was striving, well at least in my case, striving to come up with a new sound that was something different. We could do covers of other things, and I was always happy, in the band, to do that, but, especially Rick, he wouldn't have anything of it. That's our story, but a lot of other bands were doing other things, but they wanted to do the hard rock, but it was the punk thing. After a while punk started getting, unfortunately, the same, in a kind of a rut, and they all start sounding closer to each other and it became the label of punk rock that, "Oh, you have to sound this way to be punk rock". I know, the American Devices really always strove to sound, would be, in Rick's words, totally, ah, what was his words? Fucked up or something. Just different, really different. He wanted to be very different. He didn't want to sound like anybody else, which gets in your way. Right, because you can't just...and I used to fight him about that, but you know, he's writing the songs, he's playing guitar and I'd be playing the drums so differently from everybody else, so what am I to say? We were listening to Pere Ubu, Captain Beefheart, you know...all these people came out with all different kinds of ways to play music, so, you know, we weren't just happy to turn around and just do a cover. And then when we said we should do a cover we did a cover of the red, white and blue, "Stars and Stripes and Banners", or whatever it's called. I don't know, one of those American songs that people salute to, and we'd do it all out, like the Velvet Underground would do it, like all out of tune and a little bit behind the beat...and we did it in Canada, where they didn't appreciate it at all. We did punk shows, we did all kinds of crazy things on stage and we always said, "we'd might as well be even punker than the punks". When it got into a kind of a mold, "This is what you're supposed to sound like to be a punk group (beating on the table for emphasis) and we didn't...even more we didn't want to sound like that, "I just saw that band, why should we sound like this? We've got to come up with a new sound." Of course, we didn't go anywhere with that, or I didn't, but, they're still at it...I don't know if they got anywhere.

DR: You went somewhere, you came to San Francisco.

Cups: American Devices didn't get me here, though...or maybe they did!

EDPR: But they're still a band?

DR: Oh, yeah..they're still playing.

EDPR: So they're going on almost 30 years?

Cups: Well, I remember, yeah, I remember several years back, Rick sent me an email, he wanted me to come to the 25th anniversary and...I don't know what he wanted me to do.

DR: You showed me the blog...

Cups: Oh, yeah, Rick's made a whole history of the American Devices online, on his website called Snubdom.

EDPR: Snubdom.com?

DR: It's DIY, right, the original DIY...you know, they're a living example of the beginning of punk. He's still out there, doing it on his own terms. So, in a way, that's a successful punk band.

EDPR: But you though...

DR: Yeah, I'm DIY...

EDPR: Right, one of the first ever DIY labels I ever heard of was Warpt Records...so, who came up with that idea?

DR: Well, again, you know what it was? I remember seeing, up in New York, first time I went to New York, and there was a clock on the wall of this record store, saying, "If it ain't Stiff, it ain't worth a fuck," and there was another one that said, "When you kill time, you murder success", and it was by Stiff Records. So when we were trying to get a label we thought, well OK, the major labels in Canada were all sort of corporate subsidiaries of American companies in L.A. and New York...and they hadn't signed anybody, they only signed one act and then Teenage Head sort of got signed to a major label through a small label, so I thought, "We're not gonna have a chance". I remember that thing, Warpt, I was inspired by Stiff Records, so I started my own label, because I knew that was the only place. In fact, I'm the distributor for what we were doing.

EDPR: So, you found your own recording studios?

DR: Well, Grant Avenue Studios, Daniel Lanois, he's the guy that now produces Neil Young and U2, well, that was...he started with us, back in '79.

EDPR: Was he a childhood friend of yours?

Dave Rave with Teenage HeadDR: No. He had a studio in Hamilton, we knew him since we were in high school, because up in his mom's basement he had a thing called Master Sound, him and his brother. They were recording, at the time, folkies and they were doing jingles. I went up there in the early '70's when they were doing folkies. When they got their actual, real studio, Grant Avenue...in those days you could only record in Toronto, anything legitimate, and they actually started a legitimate studio in Hamilton. I was doing sessions for different singers, I was able to sing harmonies, so when it was my turn to actually make a record, after playing on Teenage Heads' first record, I went to Dan and said, "Hey, do you wanna try this at your studio now?" and it was great, it went really well. That was the Shakers and Danny produced it, but that was the beginning of our own studio in Hamilton with Danny. From there he went off to doing pretty good, you know, Parachute Club in Canada, and then eventually Brian Eno found him and took him to Europe with him to do the first U2 records...well, not the first record, but...

Cups: No, but didn't they do that "No New York" compilation with Lydia Lunch?

DR: I don't remember that, I mean, they did a whole bunch of stuff, they tried an album with Television, but it didn't work, but then Eno took him to Ireland...so we started a label with him, or he was recording us...

EDPR: You had him recording you, but then you had to have somebody cut the wax, so who did that?

DR: Danny did that with us with a guy in Toronto, then he helped us find a place that would press it...it was called World Records. We got a really good deal, because of Danny, because a lot of Folkies went there.

EDPR: Then, you were saying, you found distribution. So, I have a question here from Cribs, another writer at Punk Retrospective...(lost the question, but paraphrased) he was wondering why both The Shakers and Teenage Head, having a similar sound to what was happening in the States, why was it so popular in Canada, yet it never really made it to the U.S.?

DR: Very simple, I can give you a simple answer...no exposure. Most of the Canadian acts at the time, now there's a different pipeline, but up, like Carl was saying, Montreal bands...there was no exposure in England or America. Only one band went down, trust me, there were a few bands that did OK, Martha and the Muffins had a hit, they were out of Toronto, they got signed in England and they had that hit, [play-button:http://skateboardmag.ru/uploads/music/Rise_up/02_Martha_The_Muffins_-_echo_beach.mp3] "Echo Beach" (starts singing again), and then the Diodes got signed to CBS, but it was underground, because the scene at that time wasn't really that big. We went to New York, went to Boston, there were places in between in that period of time, but it just was a different world then. Rock really, Carl can attest to this, only came from New York, L.A. and London. So, the Rolling Stones didn't hang out, now the Rolling Stones rehearse in Toronto, but that would have been unheard of in the 1970's. When they came out to the Mocambo (Tavern) that was like the biggest thing, I remember freaking out that I'd missed it, because, when are the Stones ever gonna play a small bar in Toronto? We were like, it is not the same as it is now, now rock is, you have Seattle doing stuff and places like that, in '91 when Nirvana broke, but at that point it's just London, New York and L.A.

Cups: You might say the whole punk rock thing helped that attitude.

DR: Yeah, exactly, yeah.

Cups: It made music accessible to everybody...just to play it. It made much more music, if you think about it.

DR: Yeah, the B-52's were at the beginning of the new wave movement, they were where R.E.M actually broke out of, Athens. But in '77 they had to come to...Lauren Agnelli, the woman who I've worked with for many years, and still do, she was the one, she was in a band called Nervous Wrecks, at the time, and were playing on that scene with the Talking Heads, and that, and the Squeeze, the bands that were coming over. She's the one that gave them (B-52's) their first gig, they had to come to New York, or they wouldn't have broke. They had to come to New York, there was no other choice. They had to leave Georgia and Lauren got them their first gig opening up for their band. But the only way you could make it was in London or New York, and then, later on, in L.A, '79-80.

Cups: I'll tell you what, I've got a question for Dave Rave. When I was growing up in Montreal, I loved all the NY rock bands. They gave me Lou Reed, they gave me the New York Dolls, then Johnny, you know, Patti, Television...how come? Why?

DR: I think it's because New York, it's funny, because New York, again, was the place where it was ultimately the Big Cheese. It was like that in the '60's...I read a book on Tommy James and the Shondells...

Cups: Well, somebody told me it was just because they had the Statue of Liberty. So, if you put the Statue of Liberty, instead of NY, if they took it and it was in LA...would it have been reversed?

EDPR: Wasn't there something else that people were rebelling against? I always hear that it was a rebellion against disco and the corporatization of music...

DR: But it was before disco...

EDPR: The Ramones were before disco? The height of disco was during that era, right, when the Talking Heads and Patti Smith were coming through?

DR: You had, in New York, you had the uptown scene, which was Studio 54, and you had the downtown scene, which was CB's. So, it was a bit of a rivalry between the two. Uptown was the disco scene, but they were bouncing back and forth, because some guys, you know...there was a drug scene, too. Studio 54 did sell the drugs, so, people did go back and forth to get the drugs...

EDPR: Did you guys hang out in NY a lot?

DR: I would go there periodically in the '70's...

EDPR: To play?

DR: Yeah, we went in "77, '78, '79 and '80, every year I'd go a couple times. It was easy because Hamilton was only an hour plane ride or maybe a seven hour drive in the car. I've always had an affinity towards the city...I always liked the city, it was great.

EDPR: Carl, you were in Montreal, how far is that from New York?

Cups: I don't know...a six pack away, about.

DR: (Laughs) Did the Devices ever go to New York?

Cups: By the time I'm finished with a six pack, I gotta pee and it's 45 more minutes of holding your pee in! What?

DR: Did you guys play in New York?

Cups: The Devices did end up playing in New York. They ended up playing a couple of times at CBGB's. They never got paid, they got pushed off the stage, they got unplugged, you know, they got treated the way they usually got treated. They were just surprised, like, "Oh, I thought I'd get treated even worse at CBGB's." The person behind the bar yelled at them and you know, whatever. No, I just got kicked out of CBGB's a couple of times, but only when I wanted to. I went to see Suicide and I couldn't get kicked out for that because they were great...all the other times I did, though. I was in the bar, and I was like, ok...bands are playing that I didn't like and then I just felt kinda like, you know that kinda thing, like you have all this drama and then all of a sudden you're, "something's not right, there should be more going on" and then I say, "Oh, it has to come from within...I've got to start some trouble and see if I can get kicked out of CBGB's, at least...even though I was totally bored tonight at CBGB's, I can say I got kicked out. It might be worth something, at least one half sentence that I didn't waste my time tonight." How many times can you say, "Oh, look! Look at all the graffiti someone's written on the wall." Everybody's already written over all the great shit. But I did see the Butthole Surfers...

EDPR: What year is that? Wait...

Cups: Oh, I can't remember, I was in a fog...

DR: What...'82, '83, somethin' like that?

Cups: Yeah, it was great because CBGB's didn't have a low ceiling, with those pipes hanging there...and there's Gibby with an inverted cymbal full of lighter fluid, you know, he lights it on flame and then at particular times when he thinks it might be right on or benefits the music, he hits it and those flames lick at the top of the ceiling, all while they're projecting some sort of operation in the background.

DR: Sounds like an intense show.

EDPR: I always think of the Butthole Surfers as a third or fourth wave of punk...

Cups: Fourth, wow...

DR: Yeah, they were in the '80's, you go through different periods, you have like, well, like last year I was in Austin and they had a bunch of guys from the old CBGB's, you know Clem Burke from Blondie, Seymour Stein (Sire Records) was there, different people, right, and Clem was saying one of the first bands that he saw play there, that people would call a band, was the Dead Boys. The original New York bands tend to be a little more arty. They were arty, so the Ramones, when you look at them, they just stood still...

Cups: That's a bad word, I guess the American Devices were arty...

DR: The Ramones, like when they played, Joey held the mic and sang, Dee Dee would be playing bass...

EDPR: So they'd be like a photograph...

DR: Right, but the Dead Boys, Stiv Bators would sorta go into the crowd and get himself cut up...

Cups: Well, you could say El Dorko wasn't arty, he was farty...

EDPR: I could see the Talking Heads or Patti Smith...

DR: No, no, no, the Ramones had a look, nobody else had a look like them, they had an intentional look, they had the same name...

Cups: They had it down like a cartoon...

DR: Yeah, exactly

Cups: It was a whole package...

DR: So, Stiv went into the crowd, got himself ripped, Joey never went into the crowd. Joey would stand there and go like this.

Cups: Joey did his own thing, because Stiv was doing it, but Iggy had already did it...

DR: That's right..Stiv sort of picked up where Iggy left...but they were from Cleveland, they weren't from New York...

Cups: Let me ask you guys a question. Was Iggy the first one to jump into a crowd and cut himself and smear himself with peanut butter?

EDPR: How many qualifiers are you gonna...

DR: Iggy was taking what Jim Morrison had done further. Remember, Jim Morrison had exposed himself in front of a crowd.

EDPR: No, he didn't do that...he was pardoned...

DR: He had the gold lame' pants, so anyway, he got inspired by what that was and took that from L.A. to Detroit.

Cups: Who was the first on that cut himself?

DR: Iggy did that thing...Iggy did it.

Cups: Well, it certainly wasn't Mick Jagger...

EDPR: Who was the first one to bite the head off a bat?

CUPS: (Laughs a bit too long to let me know it was a stupid joke...)

DR: So, Iggy did it first, but Stiv, the Dead Boys were the first, he thinks, the band that was the first in the way the British looked at punk. So what you think of as punk now sort of started with the Dead Boys. Even Hilly said that, from CBGB's...

Cups: There's another band, of course they're a punk band, but what a great just rock n' roll band. A rock n' roll band, but hard driving, you know they push it, they like a little bit of distortion like a garage sound and the thing is, the garage rock band was around in the '60's for Christ sake, it didn't have to wait until the '70's or '80's for anybody to call it punk rock. Garage rock had been around for a while...

EDPR: Well, it's been around since at least Hasil Adkins, yeah?

DR: Yeah..

Cups: Yeah, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy...

EDPR: For Bugles!

Cups: Yeah, so it's this garage sound, you've got to get it trashed up...

EDPR: This is what always get me, it's this...how was it Patti Smith and the Talking Heads get lumped in with this punk rock thing?

DR: Because they were all individuals...they were all part of the scene.

EDPR: And that, I guess, is what you guys were talking about earlier where at the beginning there was this huge creative rush that somehow splintered into the Sex Pistols/ Ramones sound with the abrasive guitar...

Cups: ...but, you remember New Wave, remember the moniker New Wave...that lasted not even as long as the moniker, Punk.

EDPR: How long did Post-Punk last?

Cups: Was there one?

EDPR: Apparently, Gang of Four was Post-Punk...

DR: ...but you know what, if you put on that first Ramones record now, and you hear the way Johnny hits the guitar you can hear how a lot of guys went that direction, but they exaggerate it more. He did it like this and they did it like that...they just took that one part of what the Ramones did, they didn't take the humor...the Ramones had that whole package, the lyrics and comic book...

EDPR: Or did they? Some people say that anytime you'd see them they were always the same...

Cups: I know, I knew someone would say that...

DR: No, no, Dee Dee's lyrics...now wanna be a good boy, I don't wanna be bad...you know, [play-button:http://www.uncleit.com/mp3/Ramones/Ramones/06%20Now%20I%20Wanna%20Sniff%20Some%20Glue.mp3] now I wanna sniff some glue...

EDPR: So it was an act? It was an act that no matter who saw them, wherever they might be, they were always wearing the same clothes...

Cups: What do you want us to say, maybe it was an act or maybe they were just like that...

DR: They were really like that, but they had an act...

Cups: But they knew they were funny...hey, look, I'm gonna be a Ramone now...what does it mean to be a Ramone? I don't know, you wanna be a Ramone, too? Yeah, ok, let's you and me be a Ramone...so what do Ramones do? I don't know, let's make it up...what have you been doing...oh, I've just been sniffin' some glue...and then the next day you wake up and you're still a Ramone...

EDPR: Maybe you know, Carl, where did it come from, this Ramone thing?

Cups: "Oh, what a Ramone"...it goes way back to...it's an old thing...

DR: Didn't Dee Dee have the name?

Cups: I thinks so...Dee Dee is the big instigator of the Ramones, period...and they're all friends and Dee Dee and Johnny were friends and they got Joey later on...and Joey was gonna be the drummer...well, like, what the hell, you would have ended up with this big gangly drummer in the back...imagine that...I'm sure the Ramones would sound exactly like what they do today if Dee Dee was the singer and Joey was the drummer...ha, no...it just didn't make any sense...I'm sure Joey could never have played drums fast enough...or maybe just one song, anyways...or...maybe the Ramones would have been better if they'd have kept Joey as the drummer...he could have been like Karen Carpenter back there singing and it would have been the first punk rock group ever that the lead singer plays drums, in the back...did that ever happen? I don't know...

EDPR: I've seen, like, NoMeansNo, their drummer sings...

Cups: I remember, we were at a show, right? And we were supposed to headline, which means we go on last, which I always thought, "That sucks!" because there's like 8 bands in front of us, we'll never...by the time we get on there will be like 3 people in the audience...and then all of a sudden everybody plays over, so, it's like, there won't be enough time for you for you guys to play and I'm like, " That's totally bullshit"...I just like, grab my drums, when the other band was on stage, while the other band was playing and I'd start playing...I'd say, "It's our turn now...we only have ten minutes to play...we can do 4 songs if we go really fast"...so I say, "Rick, just take your guitar" and I went up to the guitar guy and unplugged him...you fuckin (Heather in background "Carl, Carl (their son is sleeping in the next room over)) (no quieter) You're 15 minutes over your time period and we've got 10 minutes, so I took Rob's and I plugged it in, then I plugged in Rick, so I'm in the front and I'm like, "I'm just gonna start drumming" and everyone is like, this is crazy, Carl is losing it...and then we got banned from the club...

DR: (laughing) So, you get an authentic view of a night in a club with his band, you're getting it right from the horses mouth, what it was like to play in that time, really...that's the way shows were in those days...

Cups: ...and we were supposed to headline, I would have been happier going on at 9 when there were still people there...

EDPR: Did you ever see Carl's band play, Dave?

DR: Not at that time, because we would be on the road all the time.

EDPR: Carl, did you ever see Dave's band play?

DR: I think it might have been later on he came...or did you ever come with Heather to see us?

Cups: I've seen the Shakers play...after you guys got back together...I saw Teenage Head in Old Montreal...

DR: Oh, back in the old days...in '78...

Cups: Yeah, yeah...Frankie was wearing a dog collar and the black makeup around his eyes...he had that intense stare like Iggy would have or Rollins would have with Black Flag. He'd go up to girls...haha, yeah, it was a good show...

EDPR: It's weird, I've looked at so many videos of Teenage Head over the last couple of days and "Frantic Romantic" is one of the first ones I found...and when I look at pictures of Frankie Venom with the dog collar, the blackened eyes and the weird intensity..then I look at that video and he's almost like a straight out of the fifties guy...really a lot softer...

DR: He was a personality, he was an entertainer, like the way Iggy Pop is...Frank had a way with people...his attitude was that he was snarly, sort of a cross between Lou Reed and Iggy...sort of the snarl Lou Reed had, sort of cutting, and he had the entertaining thing that Iggy had, where he could make you laugh as well as be intense, at the same time...he loved rockabilly, don't forget...a lot of punks loved rockabilly...it was like amphetamine rocknroll...

EDPR: It's a branch of punk now...

Cups: You can thank the Cramps for that...

DR: Punk brought in a lot of rhythms, though, country, it brought in ska, reggae, Beach Boys surf punk...the Ramones brought in the Phil Spector and also the Beach Boys, plus rockabilly and the Stones, I mean, you could tell they liked all that stuff..so punk really came from different areas, sixties garage rock...

Cups: You're not getting it, I think it's still rocknroll, though...

DR: Yeah, it's still rocknroll...

EDPR: So, were coming down to the bare roots and trying to revive this tree...that seemed to be dying...

DR: Yeah, people got into long songs with long guitar solos and people wanted to get back to a short song, too.

Cups: There you go...

EDPR: A little less technical playing...

DR: Yeah, yeah...that was the big fight...

Cups: It's almost like blues stuff, you know, you don't have anything, but you can just sit in your kitchen, you have a guitar, you can play the blues and everybody can sing along with you. It's like going to church and singing the Gospel...we got nothin' and then when playing with just the one guitar is not enough and suddenly you need 48 tracks with all the back-ups and the horns and all that stuff and it has to come out with big posters and...suddenly, people are like..."What happened to the blues?"...and all that raw energy...it's like when the Rolling Stones started, just raw, rawer even than Chuck Berry. I mean, Chuck Berry was even more refined than the Rolling Stones, but they were young, he had all that swang and twang and elaticity about him, those were white boys doing old blues guys songs, you know? But it was raw and they tried to polish it off...just like later, people got tired of hearing "Stairway to Heaven" and "Hotel California" it's like, where is that, what happens at the end of the "Stairway to Heaven" and where's "Hotel California"...I live in Minnesota, or Montreal, right now it's minus 32 degrees outside...where's something for me? So then you get these images of these young kids and they're (blasting away on an air guitar) nununuhnuhnuh, well, actually, to give the Rolling Stones a break, Keith was still coming up with some raw guitar playing that he probably had to fight Mick Jagger to push it on the album to make it a little bit more raunchy all the time...they were always more raunchy than the Beatles...because the Beatles were always like, "Strawberry Fields" except when they'd start fighting a little bit, but even their last album was like (singing) , "Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, Mother Mary come to me"...I mean, he's talkin' about religion, so, you know, they're shooting themselves in the foot for people who want to listen to the blues...

EDPR: OK, why don't both of you guys tell me your views on religion...

A lot of laughter...and Carl walks away, disgusted...

EDPR: OK, Dave...it's up to you...ok, wait, let me change it up, then...your name, before you were Dave Rave, you were?

DR: Derouche

EDPR: So, does that have a religious connotation at all?

DR: No

EDPR: ...and your ancestry is?

DR: French...French and Italian.

CUPS: The worst combination on the planet Earth!

DR: ...and Irish...

EDPR: Desroches...I thought it was Catholic?

DR: Yeah, yeah it is.

EDPR: You have a Catholic background? Were you raised Catholic?

DR: Yeah...

EDPR: ...are you still Catholic?

DR: No...I left the Church when I was 12 or 13, whenever you leave grade 8 and go to high school, that's when I quit.

EDPR: Because you thought they were silly?

DR: No, I did it. It was done, I learned enough. It was time to move on. I did it, it was good, now it's done. I just went on to play music, music became the new religion. I spent my time learning guitar and listening to music, that's where the new religion came from.

EDPR: ...and that seems to have really consumed your life...or, that is your life...

Cups: I thought it was hockey!

Degenerates into a minute or so of hockey talk...San Jose and Colorado, tied 0-0, 2nd intermission...then into 3 minutes of Cups ranting about Scotsmen, Alasdair Fraser and the Muse...

EDPR: At what point in your life did you become involved in Teenage Head?

DR: All my life, really...I started with Gord Lewis in grade 1. Me and Gord went to school together, Catholic school, we were alter boys...this gets back to your religious thing, right?

EDPR: You're wearing uniforms..

DR: Yeah, Gord comes from a very Catholic family...

EDPR: Drinking the wine...

DR: ...drinking the wine...then I left the Catholic school and so did he, we both went to a highschool called Westdale. I met Frankie Venom there, when he was Frankie Kerr...so Frank and I really started together and Gord did his thing. I had already been listening to music since the beginning of time. I grew up in a musical family, nobody played it, but it was always around...you know, my mom, my dad, my sister...Gord didn't grow up in a musical family, but I was already very aware of music. I was playing music by the time I was in grade 8, I always loved music. I had gotten a guitar and I saw a friend of mine who was getting out of school early on Fridays. I asked him why he was getting out early and he told me he was playing for this Jr. high band between 5 and 7. I thought, man, that sounds great, I want to get out of school early, too. He said to me, well, we need a bass player, so I learned how to play bass...just to get out of school, that's how I really started. Then I found out I can do it, I can play, I can entertain...I didn't even know I could. Then when I found out I could I just sort of started following that path, but I was still doing whatever, living my life, playing sports. Then in grade 9, I met Frankie Venom, then Frankie Kerr, and he said, "I play drums, do you wanna play guitar and do some playing together?",,,and I went, "yeah", 'cuz I think he overheard me talking to somebody else about playing.

EDPR: Was this the band called "Madonna"?

DR: Yes, this was Madonna. We were in grade 9 and we started playing in his basement.

EDPR: This is before "Madonna" the pop star came around...

DR: Yeah, way before, this was 1971...

EDPR: So, how did you come up with that name, is it the Catholic thing?

DR: No, 'cuz Frank was a Scotsman, he was so un-religious..no, no, he talked to me and said, "Madonna Incorporated". Originally he came up with the idea of Black Sunday and I said, "There's a band called" Black Sabbath"". He goes, "Yeah, ok, right, better not call it that." So the next day he came up to me and said, "How about Madonna? We'll call it Madonna."

EDPR: What kind of music was that? Is there any of it still in existence?

DR: There is a tape somewhere. My buddy has a copy of it. We played what typical 1971 would be, you have like "All Right Now" by Free, Alice Cooper...

Dave gets a phone call...then returns.

EDPR: You were doing covers?

DR: Yeah, well, I was writing a few tunes, but I hadn't really thought about writing yet as a full time deal...

EDPR: This is what year?

DR: '71

EDPR: How old are you in '71?

DR: Born in '57...so 14, Frank was 15. So we were just doing cool tunes, you know, like Bad Finger, Baby Blue, Day After Day. Frank would sing. Frank loved the Beatles. He liked Buddy Holly...tuneful stuff, he loved tunes. Even when he was playing drums, when we'd take a break he'd pick up a book and start singing tunes like "American Pie" or whatever that music was at the time.

Dave is getting another call about an interview for KVMR the following day, so we took a break...and I guess that's as good a place as any to give you a break. I'll try to blast through an hour of this every week or so. I hope you're enjoying it so far. Go on over to the official Dave Rave website for more information! Here's some video from the 2006 Hamilton Award Show:

Here's the link to hour 2 of this increasingly strange interview...

As of today, April Fools Day, 2011, there is one copy of The Shakers available on eBay for about 10 bucks...way cheaper than the Amazon link below...

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Shakers/04%20Baby%20It%27s%20True.mp3] Shakers - Baby It's True Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Shakers/14%20Do%20Anything.mp3] Shakers - Do Anything Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Shakers/19%20In%20Time.mp3] Shakers - In Time Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Shakers/12%20Shake%20Some%20Action.mp3] Shakers - Shake Some Action Link source

[play-button:http://www.snubdom.com/devices.mp3] American Devices - Decensortized Link source

[play-button:http://www.snubdom.com/drugswetake.mp3] American Devices - The Drugs We Take Link source

[play-button:http://www.snubdom.com/someoneweonceknew2.mp3] American Devices - Someone We Once Knew Link source

8Mar/115

Steve Ignorant: North American tour setback

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

Not sure how many out there have plans to catch the Last Supper tour in the States or Canada, but Steve Ignorant just posted an update explaining that delays in obtaining entrance visas will delay the scheduled concerts by roughly one month. Below is the entire text of the announcement:

EMERGENCY ANNOUNCEMENT!

I'm really really gutted to have to let you all know that we have to reschedule our USA and Canadian gigs. There's a delay with the issue of the visas we require to enter the USA. We hope it will all be sorted soon but we will NOT be able to make the scheduled gigs.

I would ask everyone to please hold onto your tickets and give us about a week to announce new dates. We will reschedule as soon as possible and tickets will be valid for the rescheduled dates, however, if you think 'fuck it, I want my money back', then do that and I will completely understand.

I know that loads of you have been planning to travel for these gigs and that rescheduling them will be a right kick in the bollocks for you. I'm really, really genuinely very sorry about this. Please understand that this situation is costing me and the band a load of emotional upset, it's not the money, it's the letting you lot down, the bands that we were going to play with, all the people that have worked so fucking hard to put this thing together and if we could have done anything to avoid it we would have. Honestly, with all my heart, there was nothing else we could do. PLEASE, if you could let other gig-goers know that it's off for now through your emails and face books or whatever means you can please do so. I know these are only typed words and words aint enough but it's all I can do. To say I feel a right xxxt would be an understatement. This is the worse thing I've ever had to do. We really appreciate your support and we will do these gigs one way or another. Here are the rescheduled dates that will be confirmed as soon as our visas are confirmed. Until the powers that be grant us entry there's nothing more I can do at the moment. Again, I'm really so sorry about all this.

Everything is tbc pending visas but we are hoping they will get issued this week.

All tickets will be good for the rescheduled shows.

April 20 Brooklyn, NY @ Europa
April 21 Montreal, QC @ Club Soda - SOLD OUT
April 22 Toronto, ON @ Opera House
April 23 Chicago, IL @ TBA
April 26 Seattle, WA @ Neumo's
April 27 San Francisco, CA @ Slim's
April 29 Pomona, CA @ Fox Theater
April 30 Pomona, CA @ Glasshouse
May 3 Austin, TX @ Emo's
May 6 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
May 7 Baltimore, MD @ Sonar
May 8 New York, NY @ Santo's - SOLD OUT

Steve.

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16850984/Misc./CRASS_20-_20Do_20they_20owe_20us_20a_20living.mp3] Crass - Do They Owe Us a Living Link source

[play-button:http://www.christopherporter.com/mp3s/Crass-SheepFarming.mp3] Crass - Sheep Farming in the Faulklands Link source

[play-button:http://www.punker-page.narod.ru/mp3/classic/crass__punk_is_dead.mp3] Crass - Punk is Dead Link source

7Feb/112

Teenage Head

Posted by LastofmyKind

If these guys had been from New York instead of Ontario, Canada  they would have been huge.  They get my respect by just naming their band after a Flamin' Groovies classic.  I wouldn't  classify these guys as strictly "punk", because you can tell they had actually listened to music BEFORE  the New York Dolls or The Stooges.  You can hear the influences on their 1979 debut self titled album. These guys must have worn out plenty of Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and Little Richard records.  This is some high energy stuff, poorly produced but great nonetheless. If you can't groove to "Picture my Face", "Curtain Jumper" or "Ain't Got No Sense" then you better go purchase some more Coldplay tracks from iTunes and slowly let your soul drown in the Abyss.

I absolutely think these guys could have been on the same field as the Ramones, but Canada didn't quite have the punk movement that NYC had in the late 1970's..... a shame,  they coulda' been contenders.

[play-button:http://www.teenagehead.ca/mp3s/TopDown-withMarkyRamone.mp3] Teenage Head (With Marky Ramone) - Top Down Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6571345/Teenage%20Head%20-%20Ain't%20Got%20No%20Sense.mp3] Teenage Head - Ain't Got No Sense Link source

[play-button:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6571345/Teenage%20Head-%20Picture%20My%20Face.mp3] Teenage Head - Picture My Face Link Source

[play-button:http://www.teenagehead.ca/mp3s/Frantic_City/04-LetsShake.mp3] Teenage Head - Let's Shake Link source

[play-button:http://www.teenagehead.ca/mp3s/Some_Kinda_Fun/08-SomeKindaFun.mp3] Teenage Head - Some Kind of Fun Link source

[play-button:http://www.teenagehead.ca/mp3s/Teenage_Head/06-CurtainJumper.mp3] Teenage Head - Curtain Jumper Link source

This is as close as I can find to a real Teenage Head Myspace page...ok, well, this says Official, but doesn't supply the music to back it up...and here's the official website.

..and here's your chance to grab some Teenage Head from Amazon....or rare stuff from Gemm.