Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bang Bang Bang & De Novo Dahl Signed, Farmer Jason Shines!

This is probably old news to many Nashville music fans, but two very deserving local bands were recently signed to big league deals. Bang Bang Bang was signed to a deal with Warner Music and is currently finishing up the process of choosing songs for the band's major label debut. They expect to begin recording shortly and plan on releasing an EP in the spring. I don't much trust major labels, so I don't know if Warner will be a good fit for the bangers; I suspect that their roller-coaster descent into hell is just beginning. Good luck to 'em!

On the other hand, Nashville's De Novo Dahl has signed with Roadrunner Records, an odd pairing if ever there was one. As reported by Jason Moon Wilkins and Nicole Keiper in an article on local rockers appearing in last Sunday's Tennessean newspaper, the heavy metal label has had some success with mainstream rockers like Nickleback and recently released a fine album from the reformed, renewed New York Dolls. However, I remember Roadrunner's first efforts to branch out beyond its metal roots, back in the mid-90s when they signed artists like Kevin Salem, and I recall the horror stories Salem told me about his time with the label and I shudder for the band. Times change, tho', and maybe today's cash-rich Roadrunner will allow the quirky, artful De Novo Dahl to be itself instead of forcing them to be something else entirely. We can certainly hope so....

It's always good to hear about my old friend Jason Ringenberg, so finding this article on his latest kid's music project as "Farmer Jason" in the Nashville Scene this week was great. The former Scorchers' frontman and critically acclaimed solo artist is one of the few genuine and sincerely nice guys that exist in the music biz and I wish Jason the best of luck with all of his musical endeavors. I've heard criticism from some circles about Jason's "kid's discs" and "selling out" and I dismiss them all as rubbish. First of all, I've heard both Farmer Jason CDs and although the lyrics are definitely aimed towards kids, the music and production is top-notch, timeless and rockin'! If Jason makes some money from creating smart, fun rock music for kids, more power to him. Jason, Warner, Perry and Jeff paid their dues for 20 years with the Scorchers. I don't begrudge any of these guys a dime they might earn from playing music. You can find my review of Jason's Rockin' In The Forest With Farmer Jason in Country Standard Time magazine.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Back In The Saddle Again (With More Bands!)

Yeah, yeah, I know...I haven't posted a word on this blog since October. Like most people, I have excuses for my literary sloth. Some of you know that the Reverend recently moved from the Nashville area to the lovely village of Batavia, located in Western New York (known to the natives as WNY). Batavia is located about 30 minutes east of Buffalo and 30 minutes southwest of Rochester, so you have access to both city's clubs and live music events.

Buffalo is an industrial, working class town, similar to my beloved Pittsburgh, and home to Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe Records label. Rochester is a high-tech city, slightly tarnished but they can still boast of Kodak and Xerox. Rochester is also home to the world-famous House Of Guitars shop and to the Priests, one of the coolest garage rock bands, ever. Even though both of WNY's major cities have about half the population of Nashville, there are just as many clubs and a heck of a lot of shows that never seem to make it to the "Music City" (insert your dig against local club owners here).

Batavia reminds me a lot of what Franklin was like when I went to high school there in the early-70s. There are a couple of grocery stores; a Denney's, a Burger King and a McDonald's; and a heck of a lot of pizza joints that also feature Italian food and the traditional Friday night "fish fry." Of course, there are no cool indie music stores like Grimey's, but that will just save me a lot of money in the long run. My wife and I bought a house on a quiet neighborhood street right off the main drag, and in December we moved our entire menagerie to WNY.

During my absence, however, you all were still sending me email and making comments on the blog. For instance, Lewis Lowrey, who I went to high school with all those years ago, sent a list of bands that I might have forgotten for the "official" list. The list that Lewis sent me included the Land, Day Glow Gods, Ivy's Vine, Children Of Noise and Beloved Children, and I've added them all to the list. Mike Crowe, who played with Smiley in Riff Raff/Riff Rath, wrote and mentioned another band that he was in, Mammy Namms, which I remember and should have added to the list some time ago. Mike also brought up F Particles and Radon Daughter, as did a couple of anonymous writers, so they're included here as well.

My old buddy from the Great Escape, Allen Williams wrote and suggested his band Warsaw Ghetto, so I've added them also. Thanks for the info, Allen! It's true what they say about MySpace being the place where people go to rediscover their past, and I've heard from a number of people over the last month that I lost track of 25 or 30 years ago. One was my old flame Cheri Thomas, who also played in a country-rock band by the name of Taylor & Stone. I had originally considered adding T&S to the list some time ago; prompted by Cheri's email, I listened to the band's lone album again and decided that they were every bit as worthy as, say, the Cactus Brothers, to be included. Twenty-five years ahead of their time, Taylor & Stone would be well-respected alt-country or Americana types today; in 1979 they were just too damn weird for Music Row. They were also one of the first non-major label Nashville bands to tour Europe, so I'm going to throw them on the list too. Thanks, Cheri!

The talented and underrated Robert Jetton has written me a couple of times during my hiatus from the project, and I apologize for not responding any sooner. I had Robert on the list with his band the Rockin' Rancheros, but he also brought up his late-70s outfit Nightmoney and a later band, the New Bohemians. I've added both of these, as well as Robert's recent collaborations with John Wheeler, under the name Jetton & Wheeler.

Of course, I've received a number of anonymous emails with bands listed that are either already on the list (please check out the list before emailing me with your favorite band's name) or that I've just never heard of before. I don't want to point any fingers or make any allegations, but I think that some correspondents are jigging the list with fictional bands. It doesn't really matter, 'cause I've already decided that if I can't get any information on a band, they're going to be added to a "M.I.A." list in the back of THE OTHER SIDE OF NASHVILLE book for inclusion in a possible second edition. There were also a number of solid bands suggested by anonymous writers though, among which I've added Hello Kitty, Tommy Rot, Character, the Lylas and Poet Named Revolver, among others, to the list. I threw the Jake Leg Stompers on the list 'cause even though they're not strictly a "rock" band. They play "pre-war roots music" (pre-WWII, not Iraq), so they're about as far from Music Row, musically, as you can get. Besides, they're a very cool band...

Just because I've left Nashville doesn't mean that I've lost any enthusiasm or passion for this project. Now that we've gotten (somewhat) settled in our new home and my office is (somewhat) organized and workable, I plan on jumping in with both feet in order to get the book done this summer. I'll be getting in touch with those people that I want to interview for the book within the next couple of weeks to set up February interviews, and I'll be writing reviews of Nashville band CDs throughout the spring (I grabbed quite a few from Grimey's before leaving town).

However, I still need help in compiling the information needed on many of the bands on this list. I've seen comments by some local musicians/bloggers that they have been too "lazy" to send band info to me for the project. C'mon people -- especially bands from the '90s and the '00s -- the '80s rockers are eating your lunch when it comes to supporting this project. I want to include everybody and make this as comprehensive a history and discography of Nashville rock as possible. If you have information on any bands on this list, which is now 365 names strong, email me at rev.gordon (@) gmail.com. If you have photos or press clippings you'd like to share, check out the project details page on where to send them; let me know if you want them back and I'll copy 'em and return them as soon as possible. Finally, if you have a CD/LP/Cassette that you'd like included in the discography or possibly reviewed, send it along! The more the merrier!

As for those of you who have emailed me over the past 8 to 10 weeks expecting a response, thanks for your patience. Now that I'm back on the project, I'll get in touch soon. Thanx!

BELOVED CHILDREN, CHARACTER,
CHILDREN OF NOISE, DAY GLOW GODS,
F PARTICLES, HANDS OFF CUBA,
HELLO KITTY, IVY'S VINE,
THE JAKE LEG STOMPERS,
JETTON & WHEELER, THE LAND,
LOJAQUE & THE FLAMING NAHDBITS,
LUCKY GUNS, LYLAS,
MAMMY NAMMS, NEW BOHEMIANS,
NIGHTMONEY, POET NAMED REVOLVER,
THE PROTOMEN, RADON DAUGHTER,
TAYLOR & STONE, TOMMY ROT,
THE TURNCOATS, VELVET FOG,
WARSAW GHETTO, ZERO HOUR

While you're at it, check out the Reverend's two MySpace pages:

Rev. Keith A. Gordon

Conspiracy M.E.D.I.A