Punk Retrospective
15Aug/120

El Dorko – The Crucifixion of Pussy Riot

Posted by ElDorkoPunkRetro

That's right...the folks at El Dorko are at it again...yeah, I'm old, so what? Jump on the bandwagon and grab your free download while it's still there...then go to Amnesty International to sign the petition for their release.

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