Category: Forgotten Records

Rich Anderson’s Forgotten Records series.

Forgotten Records: Owada – Nothing

owadaWhat do you get when an experimental installation artist records a rock album? Nothing. 1997’s Nothing is the first album by Martin Creed, and his rock power trio, Owada. It is also the last album by Martin Creed, and his rock power trio, Owada. 1 Everything he’s done since has been under his own name. Creed’s artwork is often extraordinarily simple and minimalist–take, for example, his most well known piece, the Turner Prize winning Work No. 227: the lights going on and off. It consisted of an empty room with lights going on and off. When an artist with this sort of sensibility attacks rock music, one might expect something along the lines of either Phillip Glass minimalism 2, Laurie Anderson’s spoken word stories and treatises, or possibly Terry Riley’s proto-ambient electronic music–only done with rock instrumentation. That is, after all, what we’ve come to expect from “art music,” right?

Continue reading

Forgotten Records: The Band Without The Face, Part 4: The Velvet Underground – Squeeze

Squeeze (The Velvet Underground album)

Image via Wikipedia

It’s a story older than Rock ‘n’ Roll itself. A band makes their bones around a charismatic frontman. Maybe he writes the songs. Maybe he just sings them. In either case, he’s the face of the group, the one the people come to see. Then, something happens. Maybe the frontman dies. Maybe there’s an argument over money. Maybe his own inflated ego causes him to start a potentially ill-fated solo career. Whatever happens, the band decides they don’t need their charismatic frontman any longer, and they’ll go on without him. Sometimes, this works. After Buddy Holly died, The Crickets went on with different frontmen for years. Joy Division lost the iconic Ian Curtis, and went on with a name change to become even more popular and successful as New Order. AC/DC had more success with replacement vocalist Brian Johnson than they did with Bon Scott. Yet, for every band that goes on with their new frontman and succeeds, many more fail. These are some of their stories.

Continue reading

Forgotten Records: The Band Without The Face, Part 3: The Doors – Other Voices and Full Circle

It’s a story older than Rock ‘n’ Roll itself. A band makes their bones around a charismatic frontman. Maybe he writes the songs. Maybe he just sings them. In either case, he’s the face of the group, the one the people come to see. Then, something happens. Maybe the frontman dies. Maybe there’s an argument over money. Maybe his own inflated ego causes him to start a potentially ill-fated solo career. Whatever happens, the band decides they don’t need their charismatic frontman any longer, and they’ll go on without him. Sometimes, this works. After Buddy Holly died, The Crickets went on with different frontmen for years. Joy Division lost the iconic Ian Curtis, and went on with a name change to become even more popular and successful as New Order. AC/DC had more success with replacement vocalist Brian Johnson than they did with Bon Scott. Yet, for every band that goes on with their new frontman and succeeds, many more fail. These are some of their stories.

Continue reading

Forgotten Records Presents: The Band Without The Face, Part 2: Wall of Voodoo

It’s a story older than Rock ‘n’ Roll itself. A band makes their bones around a charismatic frontman. Maybe he writes the songs. Maybe he just sings them. In either case, he’s the face of the group, the one the people come to see. Then, something happens. Maybe the frontman dies. Maybe there’s an argument over money. Maybe his own inflated ego causes him to start a potentially ill-fated solo career. Whatever happens, the band decides they don’t need their charismatic frontman any longer, and they’ll go on without him. Sometimes, this works. After Buddy Holly died, The Crickets went on with different frontmen for years. Joy Division lost the iconic Ian Curtis, and went on with a name change to become even more popular and successful as New Order. AC/DC had more success with replacement vocalist Brian Johnson than they did with Bon Scott. Yet, for every band that goes on with their new frontman and succeeds, many more fail. These are some of their stories.

Continue reading

Forgotten Records: The Band Without The Face, Part 1: The Heads – No Talking, Just Head

album-no-talking-just-headIt’s a story older than Rock ‘n’ Roll itself. A band makes their bones around a charismatic frontman. Maybe he writes the songs. Maybe he just sings them. In either case, he’s the face of the group, the one the people come to see. Then, something happens. Maybe the frontman dies. Maybe there’s an argument over money. Maybe his own inflated ego causes him to start a potentially ill-fated solo career. Whatever happens, the band decides they don’t need their charismatic frontman any longer, and they’ll go on without him. Sometimes, this works. After Buddy Holly died, The Crickets went on with different frontmen for years. Joy Division lost the iconic Ian Curtis, and went on with a name change to become even more popular and successful as New Order. AC/DC had more success with replacement vocalist Brian Johnson than they did with Bon Scott. Yet, for every band that goes on with their new frontman and succeeds, many more fail. These are some of their stories.

Continue reading

Forgotten Records: Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club – English Garden

Cover of "English Garden"

Cover of English Garden

Is it really a trivia question when everyone and their grandmother knows the answer? If the question is “What was the first video played on MTV?” I would have to say the answer is no.[1]  Babies fresh from the womb could tell you that it was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. The real trivia question is this: “Who recorded ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ first?” That’s right; it’s a cover tune, originally recorded by Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club for their album English Garden. The would-be Buggles, Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, wrote the song for Bruce’s band, and while they had some success, Horn and Downes decided to make it their first single. The rest is history and music trivia. There wasn’t bad blood, though. Bruce Woolley was close with The Buggles, though never an official member. He even appears in The Buggles video for “Video Killed the Radio Star”, a friendly shout-out to the guy who tried to make a hit of it first, and joined them for a couple of The Buggles occasional one-off performances. The success of the cover version left The Camera Club’s lone album, English Garden to the dustbin of musical history. Thankfully, history has preserved video of the band performing on the Old Grey Whistle Test[2], and on BBC Midlands.

Continue reading

Forgotten Records: The Wipeouters – P’Twaaang!

wipeoutersWith the recent release of DEVO’s new album, Something for Everybody, it’s important not to lose sight of that two decade gap when new DEVO material was rarer than diamond encrusted, gold plated diamonds. In 2001, however, there was a slight glint of light in the darkness, a mysterious album by a band called The Wipeouters, headed up by Mark Mothersbaugh, and featuring some of the DEVO alumni. Was this the comeback we were waiting for? Was this DEVO under an assumed name, ready to assault our brains with more de-evolved weirdness? A preliminary tracer shot, in preparation for the main salvo, a new loud shot from the big spud gun?

In short, no.

Continue reading

Forgotten Records: The Akron Compilation

If there was any period in music I wish I had been around for, I would have to pick the period from 1975 to 1985. Though, I technically was around for the last two years of that grouping, I was far too young to actually know a damn thing about the world around me, especially in terms of music. So, why ‘75 to ‘85? Well, those were the prime years for the development of a couple interesting genres: punk, New Wave, and Synthpop. In places like New York, London, and Los Angeles, new bands were popping up, doing new things. New York had Talking Heads and Suicide, London had The Clash and The Sex Pistols, LA had more punk rock bands than you could shake a stick at. Then again, if I had to live in LA, I’d start an angst-ridden, angry punk rock band too.

Continue reading

Forgotten Records: The Vapors – Magnets

Magnets (album)
Magnets (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[Purchase CD]
What do you do when you become an overnight, one-hit wonder with a bizarre song that is, allegedly, about masturbation? If you’re The Vapors, you go back into the studio and record a concept album about heartbreak, cult leaders, and the assassinations the Kennedys. The Vapors first album, New Clear Days was far from the upbeat, quirky pop that the big single would seem to suggest, but Magnets, their followup left behind almost any attempt at being misinterpreted as a silly pop band. Not surprisngly, it got lost. A shame, as it’s actually even better than New Clear Days highest points.

Continue reading

Forgotten Records: Suburban Lawns – Self Titled

sublawnsWell, it’s certainly been a while. If it’s any consolation, the downtime has allowed me to dig in the stacks and find a real rare gem. You won’t find this little bugger on CD on Amazon.com any time soon. No, friends, this one’s a vinyl-only (or ripped MP3) New Wave gem from 1981: Suburban Lawns.
Continue reading