Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Obituary - Kim Shattuck

On Wednesday 2 October 2019, Kim Shattuck - best known as founder and vocalist in THE MUFFS - passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Los Angeles, America. She was aged 56. The cause of death was due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease - a nerve condition), a disease she had been fighting for the last two years.
Shattuck was born Kimberly Dianne Shattuck on 17 July 1963 in Burbank, California. Her parents, Kent and Betty, raised Shattuck and her siblings (brother Kirk and sister Kristen) in Orange Country, California. While at Orange Coast College, she began playing guitar while studying photography.
Shattuck’s first band of note was as bassist for the all-female band THE PANDORAS from 1985 through to the 1990.  The band’s sound mutated from Paisley Underground-esque Garage Rock through to Hard Rock. Judging by Shattuck’s comments, she had little influence on the band’s direction.
In 1991 she switched to guitar and formed the band with which she would be most known for, THE MUFFS. The band released six albums, achieving peak popularity in 1995 with the ‘Blonder And Blonder’ album and a cover of Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids In America’ which was included in the Clueless soundtrack. 
In 2001, Shattuck formed side project, THE BEARDS with Lisa Marr and Sherri Sollinger, releasing ‘Funtown’ in 2002.
In 2013, Shattuck replaced Kim Deal as bassist in THE PIXIES; however she was dismissed after a mere five months, a decision she has said she was “super disappointed” with. No reason was given, but it has been cited that that she thought it was possibly because the rest of the band were ‘more introverted people.’
Shattuck also guested on a number of other releases; when NOFX recorded ‘Punk In Drublic’ she sang on ‘Lori Meyers’, BOWLING FOR SOUP’s 2009 track ‘I’ve Always Remember You (That Way)’ and THE DOLLYROTS ‘Some Girls’.
THE MUFFS reformed in 2014 with the come back album ‘Whoop Dee Doo’. A new album entitled ‘No Holiday’, was recorded while Shattuck was fighting the disease that ultimately took her life,  and is due for release late in October 2019.
Only this past July, another project was announced in THE COOLIES which reunited Shattuck with original MUFFS member, Melanie Vammen. With a six-track EP released the same month, ‘Uh Oh! It’s...The Coolies’, Shattuck announced that all proceeds would go to ALS - although she abstained from revealing she was suffering from it herself.  Asked why they had chosen an ALS research charity, Shattuck responded, “Sadly, it runs in my damn family, and that disease is a mystery to just about every scientist! We are definitely interested in finding a cure for ALS! Cure it already!” Other interviews also mentioned that ALS had afflicted her father’s side of the family.
Shattuck is survived by her mother, two siblings and husband of 16-years, Kevin Sutherland.

Somehow, I missed out on ever seeing THE MUFFS live. I’ve loved the band ever since the self-titled debut from 1993, revelled in the mastery of the band’s ability, and more specifically Shattuck’s writing ability, to fuse raging guitars to near-perfect Pop moments and be constantly astounded at that wild, guttural scream that infuses every MUFFS album.
It’s well known Shattuck had a genuine and abiding love of THE BEATLES, and the influence can be directly heard on that debut album.  The very fact Shattuck’s songs are being talked about in the same breath as those of Lennon and McCartney without sounding trite is testament to the quality and originality of her songs.
To read a really intimate and sincere obituary about Shattuck, I’d like to send you to the LA Times where MUFFS drummer, Roy McDonald, has penned a deeply personal account of their friendship and experience recording the soon-due album.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Obituary - Damien Lovelock

On Saturday 3 August 2019, Damien Lovelock - best known as the vocalist of Australian band CELIBATE RIFLES - passed away at his home on the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia. He was aged 65. The cause of death was cancer.
Lovelock was born Damien Richard Lovelock on 21 May 1954 in Amersham, England, the son of Australians Joan Wilton (a Jazz singer) and Bill Lovelock (a television producer and musician). The marriage dissolved when Bill moved to New York while Joan returned to Sydney with Damien ,who was still but an infant.
Following the move to Australia, Damo (as he became known) joined a band named STREET NOISE. At the age of 26, he answered a ‘Vocalist Required’ notice and joined both Dave Morris and Kent Steedman in 1980 to form the band that became recognised as CELIBATE RIFLES - a band which started as a high-energy Garage Punk band and matured into a streamlined Alt. Rock band that retained that high-energy feel of the earlier years. Although Lovelock was ten years older than the rest of the band, he had no problem matching their energy.
Following the self-released EP, ‘But Jacques, The Fish?’, the band was signed to Hot Records for the release of the 1983 debut album, ‘Sideroxylon’. Following the album’s release Lovelock started a side-project with the acoustic NO DANCE which featured members of Australian luminaries NEW CHRISTS and DIED PRETTY and released a single in 1984 entitled ‘Carnival Of Souls’.
While Lovelock returned and remained the frontman of CELIBATE RIFLES through nine studio album, two live albums, a flurry of EPs, compilation albums, a video album (which included five solo Locklock tracks) and several international tours, he continued with solo projects. In June 1988 Lovelock released his debut solo album, ‘It's a Wig Wig Wig Wig World’, which was followed by the single, ‘Disco Inferno’, in April 1990. His second solo album, ‘Fishgrass’, was released in December 1991 following a single, ‘The Dalai Lama’, the previous October.
Lovelock had an interesting life outside music also, being a fan’s-perspective commentator on the Sunday afternoon sports programme The World Game that aired on SBS in Australia. In the 2000s, he was a regular member of the football panel on Sky News in Australia and also co-hosted ABC Radio Grandstand for a short period.  Another programme he co-hosted was Football Fever on Sky Sports Radio, the final episodes of which aired in March 2010.
Continuing the sports theme, he wrote two books about soccer (plus a cookery book!), was also a known Yoga instructor in Newport, Sydney (and was proficient to such an extent he was hired by the likes of Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC and the NSW State of Origin team) and had a love of Southampton FC.
Lovelock is survived by his son, Luke. 

I discovered the CELIBATE RIFLES quite late on - somewhere around 15 years ago after I’d already made the move to New Zealand.  I had heard of the band often but crossing paths only occurred on the purchase of ‘Blind Ear’, a late 80s album but one which impressed me enough to search out more. It was also this album which features my favourite CELIBATE RIFLES song - and one very fitting to be an epitaph for Lovelock - ‘Wonderful Life’. For those curious to hear the band, a great place to start is the 23-track compilation, ‘Platters Du Jour’, which collects all of the band’s early singles. Grab it and enjoy.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Year-end Recommendations 2018

2018 was a rather interesting and bountiful year in terms of good records. In fact, my Top Three albums all came from totally unexpected sources, with two of the bands being totally new to me, and the other not having released a record in five years or so.  Even taking the Top Ten out of matters, there was still a lot of good gear - and especially when you consider some of the releases I still haven't heard like the new albums by both THE DAMNED and THE DWARVES to name but two, and the TOYS THAT KILL/ IRON CHIC split. 
Also discovered Dirt Cult Records this year. The Portland label hasn't put out a bad release from the multitude I've heard and there is great variation among them too. Genuinely inspiring stuff. Great people to deal with too.
There were some stunning compilation boxsets released too with Cherry Red in particular pulling out all the stops on their ever-continuing run of thoroughly enjoyable collections. The Damaged Goods 30th Anniversary double set is also essential - varied sounds, all special.
Live events were restricted to older acts - THE STRANGLERS, RUTS DC, PETE MURPHY playing BAUHAUS and BOB DYLAN! RUTS DC was easily the highlight, although DYLAN was surprisingly satisfying and among the top three times I've seen him (and that's a few!). No apologies for the fact that that's not very 'Punk Rock'; if that's a problem for you then that really is your problem - not mine.
2018 was also the first year in many during which I never made an overseas trip, so no overseas gigs or record cratedigging experienced!
And of course, there were the sad passings of some legends - Pete Shelley and Steve Soto being the two most notable.  Both massive loses from two gents that gave us so much.
Anyway - 2018 Top Sounds as follows...

1. CLEVELAND STEAMERS - Best Record Ever {Smog Veil}
2=. SKEPTIC?- Hornet’s Nest {DIY}
2=. SONGS FOR SNAKES - Crystal Vapour Figure {Timid Crusher}
4. SWINGIN’ UTTERS - Peace And Love {Fat Wreck}
5. NEIGHBORHOOD BRATS - Claw Marks {Dirt Cult}
6. CASTRO - Infidelity {Boss Tuneage}
7. NIGHT BIRDS - Roll Credits {Fat Wreck}
8. FUCKED UP - Dose Your Dreams {Merge}
9. FUTURE VIRGINS - Doomsday Raga {Recess}
10. ABOLITIONIST - The Instant {DIY}
Other contenders: YOUTH AVOIDERS - Relentless {Destructure}, CLOWN SOUNDS - Preacher Maker {Recess}, RUBELLA BALLET - Danger Of Death {Overground}, PRETTY FLOWERS - Why Trains Crash, HARD FEELINGS - Side Ways, RADON - More Of Their Lies {Dirt Cult}, LAST GANG - Keep Them Counting {Fat Wreck}, D.O.A - Fight Back {Sudden Death}, SPOILERS - Roundabouts, NATTERERS - Head In A Threatening Attitude {Boss Tuneage}, BAD SPORTS - Constant Stimulation, MIND SPIDERS - Furies {Dirtnap}, DOWN AND OUTS - Double Negative {DIY}, SHADRACKS - The Shadracks {Damaged Goods}, ADOLESCENTS - Cropduster {Concrete Jungle}, THE HOLDOUT - The Things That Brought Us Here {Grafton}

1. CHARACTER ACTOR - s/t {Dirt Cult}
2. VANILLA POD - Goodbye My Love... {Brassneck}
3. NUMBER ONES, The - Another Side Of The Number Ones {Sorry State}
4. CASTRO - Personal EP {Boss Tuneage}
5. HARD SKIN - Not Messing Around {JT Classics}
6. BLANKZ- White Baby {Slope}
7. CORNER BOYS - Love Tourist {Dirt Cult}
8. ABOLITIONIST - The Pinnacle EP {DIY}
9. CHAIN WHIP - s/t {Dirt Cult}
10. BOMBPOPS - Dear Beer {Fat Wreck}
Other contenders: FAZ WALTZ - Julie {Spaghetty Town}, THE LURKERS - Electrical Guitar {Damaged Goods}

1. VARIOUS - Burning Britain {Cherry Red}
2. PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED - The Public Image Is Rotten {Virgin}
3. NEW YORK DOLLS - Personality Crisis {Cherry Red}
4. THE JAM - 1977 {Polydor}
5. JOE STRUMMER - 001 {Ignition}
6. VARIOUS - Damaged Goods 1988/2018 {Damaged Goods}
7. MARKED MEN - On The Other Side {Dirtnap}
8. REDD KROSS - Hot Issue / Teen Babes From Monsanto {Merge}
9. MOVING TARGETS - The Other Side: Demos And Sessions Expanded {Boss Tuneage}
10. JILTED JOHN - True Love Stories {Boss Tuneage}
Other contenders: HERESY - Face Up To It! {Boss Tuneage}, LAWRENCE ARMS - We Are The Champions Of The World {Fat Wreck}, REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN - That Was Just A Noise 2004 - 2018 {TNS}