Saturday, January 7, 2012

Q is for Quarterflash

Yes I own this on CD.
The story of Quarterflash is one of the strangest and most tragic in rock history.  The Portland, OR outfit was big locally in the late 70s under their original Seafood Mama moniker, and became Quarterflash in 1980.  Led by Rindy Ross (vocals, saxophone) and her husband, Marv (guitar), the band went nationwide with a newly recorded version of "Harden My Heart" (a Seafood Mama staple) and their self-titled LP on Geffen.  "Heart" went to #8, the follow-up "Find Another Fool" hit #16, and the group's alliteration-fueled fortunes seemed destined for the top of the charts.

Unfortunately, this #1 came with a bullet.  Rindy Ross was mysteriously found dead in the garage of her band's road manager and accountant, Anthony Muskie.  No murder weapon was ever recovered, although stories swirled involving Muskie and husband Marv Ross as co-conspirators.  Her 1982 slaying remains unsolved.

Lost in the tragedy were the master tapes of Quarterflash's successor, which has languished in legal limbo for almost thirty years.  Next to nothing is known about the double album Coho (alternately titled "Kohoe"), as the surviving Ross has possession of the only known session recordings.  Anecdotal reports generally describe the record as brilliant, and similar to Tusk in style and sound.  The reformed touring version of Quarterflash, which features replacement singer and sax player Melinda Ross (who married Marv Ross in 1985), has maintained marginal success since the scandal and has yet to perform a single track from the Coho sessions.

OK, this story is complete bullshit... but I did in fact have a crazy dream about Quarterflash once.  I really do like their first record, but I guess it ends there.

So I've been using a fucking cane for over a month now.  After a few awkward days with the cane, I formed the following thoughts:
1) I'm gonna lose this thing in no time.  I'm terrible with umbrellas, something like -73 all time.  You'd think a cane would be really easy to just prop up when you're not using it, but it ain't.  They fall on the subway all the time, skitter down the aisle on the bus, and are absolute nightmares in public rest rooms.  Plus my kids love to run around the house with it.
2) I'm now walking the streets of New York with a weapon at all times.  My cane's lightweight, but I'm pretty sure I could fuck up a smartmouth kid or a slenderly built woman with it.  At worst, I can do some real damage to someone's windpipe before I'm arrested or beaten to a pulp.
3) This thing's really gonna get dirty.  It's being literally dragged through the streets of a filthy city.  Am I supposed to clean it when I get home?  Run it under a hose?  Nobody tells you things like this when you become disabled.

Oh yeah, any ideas about feeling sort of cool in an aristocratic kind of way are total bullshit.  Anyone that uses a cane without a real reason is an idiot, and that goes for Mr. Peanut, Pete Nice, and all the Droogs.

You'd have to be insane to not love the insanely great tapes of DJ Q-Bert.  I have the Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Music one on CD, and I do in fact love it.

I'm not quite as crazy about Quasimodo, although I really do like the tracks (and Madlib, etc.).  I can't stand the vocals, which is probably why I strongly prefer the instrumental version of The Unseen.

I love the music and vocals of Quasi, who I know I saw at Brownie's and probably a few other places I can't remember.  A truly unique band.  Unfortunately, my advance copy of Featuring "Birds" has some kind of dark epoxy-like resin stuck to the bottom of it-- four of its tracks were deemed unimportable by iTunes.  Making matters worse, the song "Birds" was one of the damaged tracks, so I guess the whole concept of the album is shot.

I rarely listen to my Queens of the Stone Age CDs, and I can't seem to find any of my Queen CDs.  I probably had three, and I sure did like them.  Please advise if you borrowed or bought any Queen CDs from me.

Oh yeah, I once won a bet with a 13-year-old kid by successfully whistling the bridge to "Oochie Wally" by QB's Finest.  I would probably be in jail if I actually recited the lyrics to the child, but whistling was just fine.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

P is for Police

Pretty pathetic, huh?  My newfound free time to work on stuff I haven't had time for, like my blog doesn't quite seem to be happening.  I guess the holidays, being a little sick, etc. has made a nice excuse for not doing jack shit on this self-aggrandizing CD collection idea.  I humbly beg your forgiveness and ask to you screw yourself at the same time.

Imagine my delight when Pansy Division's music pops up as I'm flipping through the Ps!  My old band had the privilege of playing with these guys, who apparently were/are mutual fans... One of those "somebody out there actually likes us" moments for a touring band starting to lose their minds on the road.

Remember Paris?  No, the rapper you eediot!  I loved driving around in my van listening to the 12" mixes of "The Days of Old" back in the old days, like any white guy would.  I guess being a big fan of Paris instrumental tracks doesn't exactly put me on any FBI lists, but damn if I won't slam "Bush Killa" through my speakers without warning.  I'll do it!!!

An inordinate amount of space on my hard drive seems to be expended on a dude named Anders Parker, who I may or may not have played drums with at some point.  If you're reading this and have somehow never listened to his music, by all means do so (and let me know how you possibly found this blog!).  If you're reading this and are familiar with the guy, check out a piece of his music you don't usually listen to and remember how good it is.  If you're not reading this and are a fan of his music, click here.

I was going to make a stupid joke involving Graham Parker and Charlie Parker, but decided against it.

Here's a challenge for all you readers: acquire the first six or seven Alan Parsons records (just don't go past Ammonia Avenue, whatever you do), listen to each a few times, and create a 60-minute mix of the very best stuff and mail it to me.  This isn't a joke!  I think anyone that does this can generate a collection superior than the ones out there now, and I just don't have time to do it.  There lots of great stuff to find!

Pavement had already peaked by the time S & E came out, and were long gone for Crooked Rain.  Pearl Jam, on the other hand, have released over 200 records since Ten.

I used to take Ambien and listen to Penguin CafĂ© Orchestra, and then groove to the Peshay CD.  No really.

I'm missing at least eight Pink Floyd titles on disc: Saucerful..., More, Meddle, Ummagumma, Animals, WYWH, and a bunch of other ones.  Was I really so broke/stupid/drunk/cool in the 90s that I traded all these in for an 18-pack of Stroh's?

So it's pretty cool that the Police made just five proper records and got the hell out, huh?  I don't really care much about Outlandos, but I think Regatta de Blanc (The White Boat) kicks some ass.  Stewart Copeland is a phenomenally underrated drummer.  Sure, his name comes up any time a bunch of dorks start talking about great drummers, but have you really listened to him?!  A true five-tool banger: chops, power, innovation, sound, and attitude.  Any three tracks from Zenyatta Mondatta will cover the spread.

But my favorite is easily Ghost in the Machine.  They clearly lost their minds on this one... Andy Summers was cozying up to Fripp in his spare time and Sting was about five French phrases away from exploding into pretentious oblivion (or oblivious pretension).  Ghost is part of the extraordinary Class of 1981, along with Abacab, Discipline, and Moving PicturesBy the power vested in me by the region of Long Island, I now declare you professors of Prog-Rock-Pop... ["Long Distance Runaround" plays as the graduates file out of the auditorium]

You know, Robert Plant wasn't too far behind the aforementioned geniuses.  Pictures at Eleven was a bit cloddish, I suppose (with the exception of B-side "Far Post" LOVE IT!!!), but Principle of Moments is a true accomplishment.  Percy manages to create an ambient rock album devoid of any life whatsoever.  It's New Order to Joy Division's Zeppelin.

I have DJ Premier filed under P because it's asinine to have all these "DJ" artists all lined up like a bunch of idiots.  Also because he's probably the best working DJ out there.

I put "2000 Miles" on a Christmas mix I made last month, and reminded myself just how awesome the Pretenders used to be.  By the time I actually caught them live they had dudes with freaking dreadlocks in the band.  I guess it was either that or more heroin addicts?  Anyway, first record is pure genius, second is half genius and a member of the "We guarantee you'll skip the first song when it's convenient" club, and the third is really good but sort of empty and sad at the same time.

Do I really have to explain my relationship with Prince?  OK, everything's perfect until Lovesexy and after that I refuse to even discuss it.

These Ps just never end!  I already discussed Nation of Millions in my treatment of the Cs, but I'll add that Public Enemy means of heckuva lot to me.  When Chuck D made eye contact with me and said "Alright..." as I was dragged around the side of the stage and dumped out the back of the Civic Center like Anthrax's empty pizza box, I knew I'd sleep well for years to come.