Great live shows:
Brave Combo- too many to mention but one show at the Playhouse in
Winters, CA was especially memorable. The audience was small and
reserved so most bands would have packed it in and split, but not
Brave Combo. They took a 15 minute break and came back and just
SLAYED everyone. They didn't give up until everyone was on the dance
Toxic Reasons at the Farm in SF. That night was just magic with
their two guitar attack. One of the few times I've gone up front in
the pit. The other was a very early show by Bow Wow Wow at Galactica
2000 in Sacramento, that was just incredible.
DOA at the Mab in SF. I don't think it was their first time in SF
but that "Harcore'81" lineup with Joey Shithead, Dave Gregg, Randy
Rampage & Chuck Biscuits on drums was phenomenal. I think
"Harcore'81" is the best punk rock record ever and that night they
were on fire.
Angelic Upstarts at the Berkeley Square. The band was at its' peak
and the whole room was one giant pogo.
Other favorite Mabhuay Gardens memories were JFA doing an all ages
early show and one night with Sun Ra where fortunately the sound man
Duke Ellington and his orchestra at the Mt. Tamalpais amphitheater-
A great show at the Cow Palace with Marilyn Manson, Hole &
Monster Magnet. You should have seen the parking lot after the
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives at Hardly Strictly
Bluegrass Festival (SF). End of the day and not alot of people
there, these guys make music special.
Horrible live shows: James Brown at SF State, The Ramones at
Wolfgangs. These two greats phoned it in.
I don't care for this Race To The Bottom. I like high fidelity music
and high resolution images. I don't want to watch "Bridge On The
River Kwai" on a cellphone, I want to watch it on a large, high
definition screen. I want to hear music the same way the
artist hears it. A lot of people have worked very hard to give us
perfect playback systems and yet the kids today listen to MP3's?
Now let's talk about some albums that I call "note for note"
John Hammond "I Can Tell" (1967)
really grabs me. Most people have never heard it. Engineered by Phil
Ramone it had tube microphones, tube mixing console and tube tape
recorder. It was pretty much recorded live with a few overdubs.
Robbie Robertson from The Band is on lead guitar and it's up there
as his best work.
Jr. Mance "Get
Ready, Set, Jump!"(1963)
Another just perfect record (it never was released on CD). Wow what
an album. The Capitol Records echo chamber shines.
Sons of Champlin "Loosen Up Naturally" (1968)
Another gem that just stands the test of time. These guys could
Ellington "Indigos" (1958)
A stunning recording even today and maybe the best of America's
America's second greatest composer. With Johnnie Johnson on piano,
Chuck wrote Rock'n Roll. Not the best recording quality, but with
these songs and these performances it transcends into heaven on
Moby Grape (1967)
I was one of the fortunate few to see these guys live and at their
peak which is something I will never forget. The first album didn't
disappoint. Again, not the best recording quality but the songs and
performances are great.
"Live At The Jazz Workshop" (1989) A long time ago a friend of mine
told me you have to check this singer out. She was playing in this
tiny hole in the wall in San Francico's Mission District. I thought
no way could she be as good as he described. Then a just regular
looking woman got up on stage and blew my mind. I must have been to
one hundred of her performances. This album just shines.
Krauss & Union Station "So Long So Wrong" (1997)
Somebody gave me this album and I loved it. Superb engineering by
Gary Paczosa (who's done many great albums). I don't like the song
sequencing (fast- slow-fast- slow) but other than that it's perfect.
"My Favorite Person" by
the O'Jays (1982). Wow- eight songs all of them perfect. Engineered
by Joe Tarsia. This was released right when Gamble & Huff were
breaking up and thus the album had zero promotion.
Trixie Whitley "Fourth Corner" (2012) Masterpiece!
What a great singer/ songwriter.
Remembering The Sound Of Music And Punk's Tenderloin Roots
The Sound of Music was my first paying sound gig. I went crazy
working there for about a year. A guy named "Celso" owned and ran
it. We did punk bands on the weekends and drag shows during the
weekdays. The PA was all Peavey. The only good thing about the sound
system was one floor below, a small room was equipped with a Tascam
80-8 eight track reel to reel recorder, a Tascam 22- 2 track and a
Tascam Model 5 mixing console. There was no outboard gear on either
Bands that played the Sound of Music included Flipper, Frightwig,
The Contractions, The Farmers and Faith No More among hundreds of
others. My favorites were the Farmers, Katherine, Arkansas Man,
Necropolis of Love and the Lifers.
I convinced Celso to do a compilation album from the bands that
played there. Up until that point, Celso's only interest in the 8
track was he could charge bands for doing demos, another revenue
- SF Sound Of Music Club Live, Vol. 1
Sound of Music was the sleaziest club you would have ever seen. It
made CBGB's look like the Hollywood Bowl. It was in what you would
kindly call "a bad neighborhood". This was pre-yuppie San Francisco.
I did make one friend out my adventure. Someone who gave kind advice
to a sound guy that was just starting out: Krieg Wunderlich. Thanks
One more memory from Sound of Music: the band Angst. They came from
Los Angeles, loading in these monstrous bass and guitar cabinets and
I said look fellows, there's no way this crappy PA with keep up with
these speakers and to their credit, they said we understand, these
cabinets are more about tone than just sheer volume. I said what
they are these anyway? They said they are Rat Cabs... Angst played
great that night, the Dave Rat cabinets sounded wonderful. I wish
that band had gotten more recognition...