Archive for Robert Quine

Nashville Garage-Rock Tyro Ron Gallo’s “Heavy Meta” Just Stove Our Brains In

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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From the album cover of Heavy Meta, you’d think Ron Gallo was getting ready to audition for The Jimi Hendrix Experience, what with the white guy’s Afro and all.  And that’s not a bad place to set certain coordinates — we’d love to hear him play “Hey Joe,” because he’s a solid singer and an ace lead guitarist.  Trust us when we say, we haven’t gotten so knocked over by discovering a new tyro of real rock’n’roll since we first heard Ty Segall’s Goodbye Bread.

Not to be confused with the ’70s paparazzi of the same name, Ron Gallo had us before we ever heard this incredible album.  See, in the new Uncut, which gives him the treatment he deserves — interview, record review, even a spot on their monthly featured songs — he identified Robert Quine as his musical inspiration.  That’s an excellent place to begin, and in fact, “Put The Kids To Bed” sounds a lot like Quine’s playing with Richard Hell and the Voidoids, while “Don’t Mind The Lion” could be a Lloyd Cole song with Quine playing lead.  But even though Gallo has many easy reference points — his voice can quaver like Devendra Banhart, various songs resemble what we imagine Damon McMahon’s punk projects separate from Amen Dunes sound like, and he’s enough of a classicist that on “Black Market Eyes,” the guitar figures quote at length from Small Faces’ “Flying”– this is an original, powerful artist with a crack three-piece and an album well-enough produced we know it won’t languish in the up’n’comer pile for long.

We can imagine others referencing in the same sentence Brendan Benson, The Cramps, maybe even Roky Erickson.  But let’s give Ron Gallo credit where it’s due: he has on “Heavy Meta” just launched headlong into the center of the rock’n’roll universe, with an album that anyone who loves Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, or even Jack White will immediately respond to.  Filled with energy and brains, this record is going to dominate the early innings of 2017, and we know we will be listening to this 29-year old phenom for years to come.

Opening for Hurray For The Riff Raff at the 930 Club in DC on April 23rd.  See you there.

Richard Hell’s “Destiny Street Repaired”

Posted in Music with tags , , , on April 21, 2010 by johnbuckley100

Who among us would not like to have a mulligan in life, an ability to go back to the mess we may have been at an earlier age and take another swing at things? Last year Richard Hell took the tracks to his 1982 release Destiny Street and recut the vocals and virtually all of the lead guitar parts, substituting Bill Frissell, Marc Ribot, and Ivan Julian for Naux and Robert Quine.  He did this because when Destiny Street was recorded, Hell was a mess.  As an adult, Lester Meyers decided to go back and “fix” what his alter ego produced way back when.

Except it doesn’t work.  I mean, not at all.  I admire Lester, in his guise as front man for the Voidoids, and as a pretty interesting novelist writing under the name of “Richard Hell.”  But Hell’s bells, he may have been nodding off when he recorded Destiny Street, but there is no real improvement in his voice, 27 years after the fact, and I’ll just say it: obliterating the late Bob Quine’s lead guitar work on songs like “Going Going Gone” and “Time” is a crime against art.

I’ve listened to the two versions of the album side by side.  The songs I never really cared for on the original album are at best modestly improved.  The songs I adore are flat out ruined, and for one big reason.  I’ve never been a huge fan of Ribot or Frisell, though I respect them, and of course I love Ivan Julian’s work, whether as a guitarist with the Voidoids or as producer of the Fleshtones.  But Bob Quine was hands down the most interesting, canniest guitarist of his day.  I would listen to — have listened to — Lloyd Cole just to hear Quine’s aggression and twisted logic spring notes like coils through a dusty couch.  And here Hell/Meyers plows over Quine’s performance to have them updated by others.  It’s like someone doing a scrape-off of a Frank Lloyd Wright home in order to build something a little more comfortable by a hip new architect.

Richard Hell and Voidoids, in both Blank Generation and Destiny Street were pretty unique among punk bands, in that they could really swing.  Whether it was Mark Bell or Fred Maher on drums, or Ivan Julian or Bob Quine playing lead, these guys cornered tight and were light as cats.  Hell’s messiness was charming.  That by ’82 he was down to putting out records on Marty Thau’s label, and lost Quine’s services to Lou Reed; that in those days even NME was alluding to how stoned he was when they’d run into him at a Crazy Eddie’s, kinda doesn’t matter to the rest of us.  It mattered to Hell/Meyers, so he went in and “Repaired” his record.  Only he didn’t.

The release yesterday of “Plundered My Soul” shows a band respecting what they did in the original session, seemingly “repairing” things only at the margin. Today’s Times has a story on a Picasso — damaged when a woman fell through it — which at last has been stitched back together and is back on display at the Met.  Destiny Street Repaired, I am very sad to say, is closer to what happened when that women fell through the Picasso, rather than the careful restoration of a precious work of art.

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