tom smith | make green bay weird | dec. 2015
I'd be willing to venture that no drummer has influenced directly or indirectly more heavy metal and punk rock drummers than Phil “Philthy Animal" Taylor, who passed away on November 11, 2015 . Phil was the greatest drummer that arguably the world's greatest rock and roll band, Motörhead, ever had. Phil was there for the golden years of the band, debuting on Motörhead's second album, “Overkill," and played on such classics as “Bomber," “Ace Of Spades," “No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith," “Iron Fist," “Another Perfect Day," “Rock N' Roll," “No Sleep At All," and “1916." (He's also on “March Or Die," but you would never catch me calling that a classic Motörhead album.) Phil's drumming style and his just plain style was a vital component to Motörhead 's unique and trailblazing sound.
Venom may have been at war with Satan, but Motörhead were at war with mundane, antiseptic, poor excuses for rock and roll. They took no prisoners and became a truly iconic band. Who can forget the first time they saw Phil Taylor and Motörhead on the television program “The Young Ones," performing “Ace of Spades"? Sad to see someone only 61 passing away, and also sad to see such a big part of my youth and finding my musical self perish. In spring of 1987, when I was a student DJ at WGBW (former student run campus radio station at University of Wisconsin, Green Bay) I had the distinct honor and pleasure of interviewing Phil and Lemmy of Motörhead at the Eagles Club in Milwaukee. Motorhead, at the time, were on their second USA leg of the tour for their also classic album, “Orgasmatron." Phil did not play drums on that record, but the drummer who did, Pete Gill (also of Saxon), quit and Phil was enlisted back into Motörhead. I remember the interview went great and Phil was super cool to me. Phil had left after “March Or Die," and hadn't been in Motörhead for quite some time, but that never lessened his impact on the band. Lemmy, early in his career, worked for Jimi Hendrix and perhaps, somewhere right now, Phil Taylor is jamming with Jimi as you read this.
Holdin' The Bag
Timebomb Rating: 13 of 13
“Holdin' The Bag" is the first Supersuckers country album since 1997, when they gave us “Must've Been High." Both albums have the common denominator of being recorded in Austin, Texas, this time at Bismeaux Studios (owned by Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel). This album was produced by the Supersuckers with assistance from "Surly" Steve Chadie, who also engineered it. It was mixed by Blag Dahlia (singer of the Dwarves) and Andy Carpenter. Mickey Raphael once again plays harmonica as he did on “Must've Been High." The album cover art looks like something out of a Spaghetti Western, which of course is appropriate as their singer is Eddie Spaghetti. This is the first Supersuckers album with Eddie Spaghetti as the sole remaining original member. The band has bid adieu to guitar player Dan Bolton. The rest of the Supersuckers is comprised of “Mountain" Marty Chandler on lead guitar and Captain “All-Nighter" Von Streicher on drums.
The album starts out with the title track, which I'm positive is not a reference to Eddie being the last original member. Track two is “This Life (Would Be A Whole Lot Better If I Didn't Have To Share It) With You," a classic anti-love song that's very funny. This song is a duet with Hayes Carll that points out that certain things like beer, money, and life would all be better without the antagonist of the song. It also gives us the classic line, “sharing sucks." Track three, “High & Outside," is one of those just plain beautiful songs that Eddie comes up with that make you think, “Is he the most underrated songwriter of the last twenty years?" Of course, any great country record can only be helped by a great male/female duet, and the song "I Can't Cry," featuring Lydia Loveless, fits the bill. "Let's Bounce" is one of my favorite tracks on this album, and one I find popping into my head even when not listening to this album. I noticed Jessie Dayton adds some guitar to this song. "I Do What I Can (To Get By)" will have your toes tapping the second the pedal steel guitar kicks in. "Jibber Jabber," another one of my favorites, is a rollicking number that's piano driven. Reading the liner notes, I see no one is credited with playing piano on this album, so I'm going to take it upon myself to speculate that the Killer himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, guests on this song. "Shimmy And Shake" is one of the tracks on the album that will easily be adapted to a Supersuckers' rock and roll live show. The album ends with "All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)," a Hank Williams, Jr. cover. Eddie Supersucker-izes it with lines about Lemmy and Blag Dahlia. The funny thing is that when I first got into the Supersuckers, I would describe them to friends and anyone who would listen as a combination of Motörhead and the Dwarves — true story. This album is another wonderful chapter in the long saga of one of America's greatest rock (and country?) bands. If you never see the Supersuckers in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it's not a mark against the Supersuckers, but a mark against the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Supersuckers have been coming to Green Bay for well over 20 years and I have gotten to know Eddie fairly well, so I was quite bummed to hear he was battling cancer. Sounds like things are going good, but I believe they will not be able to tour to support this fine album, so help Eddie and please buy three to seven copies. Trust me on this: “Holdin' The Bag" will make a great stocking stuffer. Santa has tipped me off they will have plenty in stock on compact disc at the Exclusive Co. in Green Bay. Vinyl release of this in early 2016.
Billy Gibbons and The BFG's.
Timebomb Rating: 13 of 13
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top has given us his first solo album and I thank him. Billy stepping out from under the heavy expectations of the fans of ZZ Top has afforded him the true freedom of letting his mojo run wild. Wild it runs with an international flair. “Perfectamundo" was recorded in Pontevedra, Spain, Houston (two different studios), Los Angeles and Austin. Production was handled by Billy Gibbons and Joe Hardy. The sounds of this album encompass elements of Afro-Cuban, Tejano, the Caribbean and Spain. Don't worry, the album is abundant with Billy's patented Tejas blues licks. A wonderful aspect of this album is that while listening to it at work, at times you have to ask yourself, "What album am I listening to again? Because this is great!" The album is so varied in textures and styles that are uncharted territory for Billy that, when you realize you're listening to “Perfectamundo," you are even more amazed. I'm not the only person this album has had this effect on. I played this for a coworker of mine and he made the same observation. ZZ Top fans should give this album a chance — yes, you won't hear "Sleeping Bag," but I guarantee you (as long as you have some soul in you) you won't be disappointed. For fans of Ry Cooder, familiar with his excursions into the Latin world, you will also enjoy this album. Favorite songs of mine are "Treat Her Right" (a Roy Head cover), "Saly Pimiento," "Quiero Mas Dinero" and "Piedras Negras." One last note — enjoy Gibbons' multiple watercolor paintings in the CD booklet.
Two quick notes the professional wrestling world lost one of the greatest heels ever when former four-time AWA Heavyweight Champion of the World, Nick Bockwinkel, passed away on November 14. Also one of Wisconsin's favorite sons, Nato Coles, will be making an appearance at Gasoline on Dec. 12. If you want to see impassioned Americana mixed with Bruce Springsteen and Phil Lynott then Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band are so up your alley. Live Long and don't let them grind ya down.
Since 1984, when he first began selling records at Galaxy of Sound inside the Port Plaza Mall, Tom Smith has been part of the Green Bay music scene. Promoting his first show 1986 and hitting his stride with the Concert Café (1995-2001), Smith continues to promote shows in Green Bay. He first honed his journalistic chops while serving as a student DJ at WGBW, interviewing such icons as Motörhead and the Ramones. Today you can find him championing live music and managing The Exclusive Company in Green Bay.