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Posts Tagged ‘The Replacements’

Ignored 108: The Concert Hall was pretty cool

In Graphic on September 3, 2016 at 11:04 pm

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Ignored 78: Big breaks

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2016 at 12:49 am

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Ignored 43: In the ballpark

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2014 at 1:18 am

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To celebrate the start of the 2014 Major League Baseball post season, I conducted a web chat with notable New England minor league baseball blogger @PawSoxHeavy. You can read her work at http://www.pawsoxheavy.com.

We aimed to talk about music in baseball stadiums. We ended up talking (a lot) about John Fogerty, Australian baseball players, Rhode Island, garage rock and Simply Red.

Check it…

Cam: Hello?

PawSoxHeavy: Hi, I’m here.

Cam: Let’s jump right into it. John Fogerty sings “Centrefield”: friend or foe? Make that, “Centerfield”  You’re American.

PawSoxHeavy: Initially, I didn’t mind it. Then, I worked at a ballpark and I hated it. But now I don’t mind it. It’s a far cry from “Fortunate Son”, that’s for sure.

Cam: Interesting. What ballpark did you work at?

PawSoxHeavy: Pawtucket.

Cam: Who were the Red Sox luminaries who passed through during that time?

PawSoxHeavy: It was when I was a teenager. Mo Vaughn, etc.

Cam: Who was the manager?

PawSoxHeavy: It was the year “Under the Bridge” came out. The manager was probably Butch Hobson.

Cam: Seems like… Butch Hobson era. Whoa, jinx!

PawSoxHeavy: Yeah, he was scandalous.

Cam: So John Fogerty, Steve Miller, Bob Seger… who would you say is the modern equivalent of these blue-collared rockers?

PawSoxHeavy: Maybe the Black Keys? That’s a little bit of a stretch.

Cam: John Mayer?

PawSoxHeavy: Those guys are true dinosaurs. I think John Mayer is more of a Kenny Loggins type. Kid Rock, perhaps?

Cam: If you look at old pics of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, aesthetically, it’s amazing those guys ever got a record contract. I like some of their songs but damn, did NOT look like a rock band.

PawSoxHeavy: Didn’t one of them have enormous curly hair?

Cam: Yeah, big hair, tight long sleeved t-shirts with NHL logos was kinda their “jam”. And yeah, I was thinking Kid Rock too.

PawSoxHeavy: Oh, they were Canadian?

Cam: Yup. Leftovers from the Guess Who. Not sure where “Turner” came from. What is the strangest song you ever heard at a ballpark? Any hip indie rock? Explosions in the Sky?

PawSoxHeavy: Also featuring Gary Overdrive.

Cam: “The Pete Best of BTO”

PawSoxHeavy: When I was in Minneapolis, they played Replacements songs. I was surprised…

Cam: That’s pretty amazing. I like those regional cult bands who are just massive local bands in their hometowns. Like Toronto and the band, Toronto. Who I thought were from Buffalo for the longest time. Seriously.

PawSoxHeavy: The White Stripes occasionally? Around here, we hear a lot of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, as featured in Eddie and the Cruisers.

Cam: Have you heard the Hold Steady’s version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? Surprisingly amazing and affected!

PawSoxHeavy: I have not. In Pawtucket, they play Carly Simon’s version. I haven’t heard of Toronto the band. Do the Hold Steady sing the entire song? All the forgotten verses?

Cam: “Join us as Carly Simon sings ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ and remain standing for a spirited rendition of ‘Let the River Run’…” The Hold Steady seem to sing 70% songs and then, that dude talks through the other 30% about assorted nonsense.

PawSoxHeavy: They’re nothing, if not distinctive.

Cam: I like them. They seem like the next phase of the Replacements, Guided by Voices ilk. “Hipster bar band”.

PawSoxHeavy: I like them as well.

Cam: Is John Cafferty from New England?

PawSoxHeavy: He is from Rhode Island.

Cam: Is he still… alive? There was some college rock band from Rhode Island in the 1980s, no? Or a hardcore punk band? Necros or something?

PawSox: He is still alive. In the 1980s? I don’t know of any college rock/hardcore. How do you feel about “Centerfield”?

Cam: I like the clapping part at the start but it’s super cheesy. To your point, CCR were effin’ great so that doesn’t help. If it was some no-name singing that song, I’d probably like it much more.

PawSox: The clapping part?!? Really?

Cam: Can you think of any other songs about BEING an athlete?

PawSox: Oh, great question!

Cam: That Springsteen song? “… mumble mumble mumble…. WAS A BIG BASEBALL PLAYA”

PawSox: “Glory Days”. That Dead Kennedys song about high school football? “Jock-o-Rama”, maybe?

Cam: Ya! Totally. Also, Belle and Sebastian sings “I Don’t Want to Play Football” although technically, that’s about NOT playing sports. You know Tom Cochrane, right? His song “Big League”?

PawSox: I don’t know that one,

Cam: HIS boy’s gonna play in the big leagues. HIS boy’s gonna turn some heads HIS boy’s gonna…. knock ’em dead. Ahhhhhh-HOOOOOOOOAH!!! THE BIG LEAGUE!

PawSox: My goodness!

Cam: YouTube it. Canadian rock classic. I like it. The video is black and white, and foggy.

PawSox: Belle and Sebastian also did that Mike Piazza song.

Cam: Do you know the Pavement song “Major Leagues”?

PawSox: I don’t know that Pavement song. Which album?

Cam: I strongly dislike that B+S song. Around the time they started getting way too clever and cutesy.

PawSox: Ha. Also, Tom Cochrane was around way before “Life is a Highway”? Imagine that!

Cam: That Pavement song was on Terror Twilight. It’s fine but kinda forgettable. It sounds like a band that is pretty bored and about to break up. It is my belief that Tom Cochrane was marketed to be the John Cougar Mellencamp of Canada. Really, JCM was the evolution of the Millers and the Segers.

PawSox: Wow, [“Big League”] is is so intense! It’s like “Candle in the Wind” for hockey players.

Cam: Pretty much. Did you ever listen to that band Peter Buck created where they just did baseball songs?

PawSox: I did not! I totally forgot about that. And I read about it extensively. Also, I need to karaoke this Tom Cochrane song.

Cam: Did TC have other hits in the States other than “… Highway”?

PawSox: No. I don’t remember any. He’s no Bryan Adams.

Cam: Few are! So why did Buck do those baseball songs? Are they are sports nerds? I think a guy from the Young Fresh Fellows was in there too!

PawSox: I think baseball is one of the few acceptable hipster sports. Along with jai alai, maybe.

Cam: Is it because you can talk about yourself through the entire game and it’s pretty much fine?

PawSox: I think so! Plus you can casually bust out some Heady Topper… and vape.

Cam: Very true. You have plenty of time to do anything but watch baseball. BTW the Rhode Island band I was thinking about: Deer Tick. Not from the 1980s. Are they a big deal where you are? They are the evolution of the Replacements too. Almost laughably so, they’re so similar.

PawSox: You would think so, but no. Live music in Providence is dead.

Cam: Do any touring bands play there? Are there big summer music festivals? Newport?

PawSox: Newport Folk Festival. Colin Meloy showed up. Newport also has a jazz festival.

Cam: I get that guy and the Death Cab guy and some comedian from Saturday Night Live mixed up. Their faces.

PawSox: … and the guy who was in the last seasons of The Office.

Cam: Gary Overdrive?

PawSox: Ha, no.

Cam: What are the two most random bands you used to mix up? For me, it was Jane’s Addiction and the Leslie Spit Treeo who were a light female-fronted hard folk rock trio from Toronto who were mildly popular in 1990. Stephen Colbert?

PawSox: Grant? Wade?

Cam: Grant Balfour?

PawSox: I can’t remember!

Cam: Grant Balfour, the big Aussie hurler!!

PawSox: Haaaa yes, it was Australian reliever Grant Balfour. Or Pete Moylan.

Cam: Remember Dave Nilsson of the Milwaukee Brewers and southpaw Graeme Lloyd? Also, Moylan is Aussie?

PawSox: Nilsson, yes, Lloyd no. RE: Moylan: he is!

Cam: He’s the Braves pitcher who got hurt, right?

PawSox: … and Ryan Rowland-Smith. Yeah, Moylan was the Braves guy.

Cam: I think RRS was CANADIAN!!!

PawSox: Shut up! He was in Pawtucket last season.

Cam: Nope, you’re right. Aussie.

PawSox: He’s a sexy, sexy man.

Cam: Really? http://cdn.sportsoverdose.com/thumbs/ryan-rowland-smith-18-mlb.jpg

Cam: Do you know the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry and the Pacemakers?

PawSox: The soccer song?

Cam: Damian Moss. Former Giants hurler. Aussie.

PawSox: Yeah. Who was the other Damien who was a catcher?

Cam: Yeah, is that KNOWN as a soccer song? I just heard it maybe 3-4 months ago for the first time. Great tune. Up there with “Ferry Across the Mersey”. Damian Miller?

PawSox: I prefer “Ferry…”. Miller, yeah. He played 4-eva. Like Benito Santiago.

Cam: The real question I need to ask: the Standells sing “Dirty Water”?

PawSox: Oh! It’s a good song.

Cam: Even outside Fenway, not a good song.

PawSox: That’s all I can really say. What? I do like that song.

Cam: It’s so boring though. It’s no “Psychotic Reaction” or “Pushin’ Too Hard”.

PawSox: Yeah, but it’s out of context. The Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard” kicks so much ass!

Cam: Yup.

PawSox: I bought the domain name deadsongs.com

Cam: Oh yeah? What’s going there?

PawSox: I haven’t figured it out yet… or how to execute it, really. It’s about songs like “Centerfield”.

Cam: So, it’s gonna be a blog?

PawSox: I think so, yeah. Songs that produce zero emotion when you hear them. Not even annoyance.

Cam: The aforementioned Kenny Loggins and his song “Nobody’s Fool” from Caddyshack 2? That’s one. I feel completely blank when I hear it. Not happy. Not sad. Not anything.

PawSox: I played “This is It” this morning!

Cam: 54-40 sings “Ocean Pearl”… another

PawSox: I don’t know that one!

Cam: More Canadian stuff

PawSox: What was Them’s big hit?

Cam: “Gloria”? Do you like Simply Red?

PawSox: Oh yeah… I do like them a little. I hear they’re despised in the UK. They’re better than UB40 by miles!

Cam: They were oddly cool. Check the video for “It’s Only Love”. Mick Hucknall getting all amorous. It’s quite the sight. Mick Hucknall wins the “unreasonable self confidence: music edition” award.

PawSox: I don’t know if I can handle that.

Cam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaGBbjDwmAc. I kinda like his shirt in the video

PawSox: Oh, okay..

Ignored 36: Do you like Neil Young?

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm

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I asked my friend Adam (via Facebook) if he liked Neil Young. What happens next will SHOCK you…

Cam: Do you like Neil Young?

Adam: Yes very much but not as crazily as others. Only seen him twice. “A Man Needs a Maid” acoustic at Massey Hall was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

Adam: You ask me questions at times were I can’t adequately answer on an iPhone.

Cam: I was going to ask you to tweet me your ENTIRE thoughts on the Beatles next.

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Cam: I’m not a massive fan but I like him. I have this morbid reaction every time he plays Toronto… balking at $80 tickets to see him play his latest song cycle about the electric car or whatever. And then finding out he dies a week after filling the ACC. Similar feelings about Leonard Cohen.

Cam: Is there a particular album or three you’re into?

Adam: Harvest Moon is a slice of perfection for me. straight through. A certain place and time I remember well. That album, then. Getting it, and listening to it all the time. The harmonies. Oh, the harmonies. James Taylor is on there. I had a Nicolette Larson phase, who sang all the harmony on “Comes a Time” (also great, I could go on) and then had her own hits with “Rhumba Girl” and “Lotta Love”. She died early, which was super sad, especially since she’d done an album of lullabies that I had found. but I digress. Nicollete Larson, James Taylor and Linda Rondstadt all do harmonies on the album. It makes me happy all the time. It makes me want to sing along. It’s simple and perfect. “One of These Days” is one of the best songs he ever wrote, and the live version of it from Neil Young: Heart of Gold is something else. How he talks about the letter he’ll write to his old friends, how he feels about them, it’s really beautiful and stirs emotion in me every time.

Adam: TBC…

Adam: My first album was Decade. A great starting point. “Out on the Weekend” and “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” and “Tell Me Why” are the shit. Watch this. Greatest thing ever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Pf0RkL6lN4. Chrome Dreams II was a fantastic album. I was lucky to see him do the tour live at Massey Hall. Frst half acoustic (people need to shut the fuck up). Second half electric. Awesome.

 

Adam: Also saw him at the ACC with Wilco opening. Most notably, my first Wilco show. Neil did a really good “Cortez the Killer” if i recall. Show highlight for me. Lowlight is always “All Along the Watchtwoer” because I can’t stand that song, though he wails. Deceptively. you forget that about him because of how soft and gentle he is, then he fucking goes off.

Cam: I like your comments very much. Harvest Moon is interesting because it comes on the heals of “Neil Young in the 1980s” which is almost entirely experimental, “message albums” or both. “Neil in the 1980s” is definitely a massive Rolling Stone article in its own right. I’ll need to go back and give Harvest Moon a deeper listen. There’s something about “Unknown Legend” that rubs me the wrong way, although I think for no real reason. Maybe the concept of desert highways freaks me out a bit.

Cam: You’ve mentioned Tweedy in a few times in past. Seems like for you, he’s one of the few new (i.e. ONLY been around for 25 years) artists who kinda sorta carries the mantle for Bob, Neil, etc? I think I’ve suggested it before but definitely give the War on Drugs’ “Baby Missiles” a listen if you can carve out a few minutes. If only because it kinda sounds like Dire Straits, Petty, Bruce and all that shit squished together. Via Philadelphia somehow. It’s a great song but I guess only time will tell if this guy/these guys are their own thing or a merely vaguely interesting soundalike.

Cam: OK, I’m putting “Journey Through the Past” on my iPod. One thing I really like about Neil is that he’s such a curmudgeon but his lyrics and songwriting is incredibly earnest and when he wants to be, very universal. I’d like to see make one more really vastly acclaimed (and listened to) album before he splits. Maybe his Time Out of Mind? I dunno. He’s got kind of a “Neil being Neil” thing going for the casual observer at this point.

 

Cam: Strangely, my introduction to Neil was CSNY’s “American Dream”. Primarily, the video. I guess we were around 10 when that came out and I thought it was by somebody akin to Weird Al since the song and video were (apparently) parody. I think for a while, I thought it was Genesis since they had that video with all the puppets in it and… well, I was young and foolish, I guess. It’s interesting to watch the video now and see how prominently Oliver North and Gary Hart factor into it… two fellas that NOBODY ever talks about anymore (let alone sing about). It kinda bothers me Nash is in there poo pooing the “American Dream”. Dude, you’re from Blackpool. Git outta there!!! Git!! Git!!

Cam: I know you never “did” Pearl Jam. What about when Neil was jamming with those guys? I think that Mirrorball album was a bit like “the emperor’s new clothes”. The coolest mainstream band of the day with the baddest mainstream legacy artist. The single “Downtown” was pretty weak and had inane lyrics: there’s a place called downtown/where all the hippies go… downtown/let’s go downtown.

 

Cam: Just writing this out reminds me of that Seinfeld where George is trying to solve the downtown “riddle” by dissecting the Petula Clark song, famously resulting in the humiliation of a mail room clerk.

Cam: Deer Tick is another new(ish) band that I like to put in iPod playlist with Wilco, Steve Earle, Bright Eyes, the War on Drugs, etc…. kind of real fake country rock, I guess. Not sure I’d draw any parallels with them and Petty, Bob or any of those guys. The Replacements yet. I love the persistent organ on this tune.

Adam: My Other first Neil album was Live Rust. Holy shit, that album blew my mind. His early output is so over the top impressive.

Adam:The opening to “Comes a Time”!!

Cam: Yeah, I certainly gravitated more towards “noisy Neil” when I was a litte guy. I like when he took Sonic Youth on tour and went through “gratuitous noise” phase but it always sounded different when he’d freak out with Crazy Horse because it was coming from a more “bar band” sensibility than pandering to critics or “edgy alternative types”. He could go from noise freak outs, straight up country rock, jamming with Booker T and the MGs and then when he wanted to do something MOR and mainstream, he could drop a Harvest Moon and completely nail it.

Ignored 31: Hammer time

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2014 at 12:06 am

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Gods of the Hammer: The Teenage Head Story is a new book coming later this month from Geoff Pevere. You might know Geoff from his movie column in the Globe and Mail or his past contributions to the Toronto Star, CBC and various book shelves. You might know Teenage Head from the radio or from history or maybe you don’t. After all, from what I can tell, Teenage Head are a bit of an anomaly in the annals of Canadian popular music. Too punk to be categorized as classic rock and yet too revivalist to be fully embraced by the punk crowd, the Teenage Head story is rooted in energy, loud guitars, interesting hair, bad management, the streets of Hamilton, a riot, a car accident and a staggeringly consistent discography that holds up (and possibly improves) as the years pass.

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Geoff was kind enough to spend a little time with me on Facebook, answering questions about his book and sharing a few thoughts on why the band left such an impression on him both as a music writer and, more importantly, as a music fan.

Cam: Thanks again for taking the time. I was born in 1977 so I was a kid during the prime Teenage Head years but I’ve always thought they were really under-appreciated in the broader sense. First question: how long did it take you to write the book and when did the idea first come to you?

Geoff: The book took about a year exactly. I was approached by Jason McBride of Coach House books. He asked me to pitch an idea for their new Exploded Views series — short books by authors on subjects they’re obsessed with — and I almost instantly said ‘Teenage Head’, a band I first saw in 1978, saw more times than any other band and a band that created a noise that’s been ringing in my ears for 35 years. I too always thought they were way, way, way under-appreciated, despite the fact their underground legend persists to this day.

Cam: It always seemed like they didn’t squarely “fit” anywhere. Q107 has no issues playing “Let’s Shake” to this day but they’re not a Q107-type band. They did the whole punk Larry’s Hideaway/Last Pogo thing but they weren’t really a punk band in the textbook sense (in my opinion). Is that part of the appeal do you think? Where does your obsession stem from?

Geoff: It’s true. They didn’t really fit anything, unless you call “pure, simple, three-chord, balls-to-the-wall white-guy, blue-collar” rock a category. Which I guess it is, but not in the insanely label-driven music business, which was especially insanely label-driven in the punk and post-punk era. All I know is, when I first heard the song “Picture My Face”, which sounded to me like a bubble-gum song played by the New York Dolls, I was in for good. They came along just in time to get swept up in the whole punk thing, but really they were a glam-rock, almost proto-metal outfit of the Alice, Iggy, Slade, Mott stream. What got me instantly and totally were the hooks in the songs — eargasmic — the precision of the playing the ferocity of the performance. Canada didn’t know what to do with them, radio didn’t know what to do with them, the recording industry didn’t know what to do with them, and you had to go and see them live to fully appreciate just how original, intense and powerful they were. This just wasn’t supposed to happen in this country, and it was so fucking good the fact it happened in this country only seemed incidental: these guys were as good as rock music got. Period.

Cam: Yeah, for somebody who only discovered them in retrospect, much that’s written about the early days paints the picture of a totally different band live. When did you see them for the first time? Based on their albums at least, I always thought they were closer to Cheap Trick than the Sex Pistols.

Geoff: Cheap Trick is a totally valid comparison. But where Cheap Trick kinda tilted more toward the commercial metal side, Teenage Head tilted more toward the tighter sonic structure of punk. But in terms of a highly refined, amped-up pop sensibility, absolutely. When you consider that Alice Cooper’s Love It To Death was one of those albums that Teenage Head wouldn’t exist without, you get the idea. I think I first saw them in Ottawa, where I was going to university. And from the first night, I was committed. The songs were so good and insanely catchy, you actually left the bar with them in your head — not something you could say of a lot of so-called ‘punk’ acts of the time. And in order to hear those songs again — I’m talking before any vinyl or radio play — you had to go back to another live show. Fortunately, those guys gigged like a machine (ed: a small, small sampling).

Geoff: You know, it occurs to me that another apt comparison is The Replacements, but Teenage Head were way more consistently tight, melodic and consistent overall than the Mats.

Cam: I can see that. Kind of that bar band feel. It’s kind of a vague question but do you think as a Canadian band (from Hamilton!), they should have been bigger in a commercial sense? Especially with a track like “Something on my Mind”, that sounds like a totally multi-format hit to me. Every bit as good as the Cars or whatever else was huge power-pop-wise at the time. It seems like for Canadian “new wave” bands of that era, there was a limit. Teenage Head, the Spoons, Blue Peter,… they all seemed to get to a certain level but it’s kinda like there was a brick wall in the industry at that time.

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Geoff: I don’t think there’s any question that if they had been able to get any consistent traction in the studio, working with a label and producer they were comfortable with and who knew them, they might have made a might big commercial impact. But they got bounced between labels, had no consistency in their studio experience, were poorly managed and for all that prevented from concentrating on writing and recording in a manner that would have yielded more great songs like their early ones — “Picture My Face”, “Top own”, “You’re Tearin’ Me Apart”, “Disgusteen”, “Let’s Shake”, etc. All you have to do is listen to the sessions recorded Daniel Rey and Marky Ramone with the band in 2003 to hear what might have been. That being said, it’s an incredibly legacy simply because it transcended all the shit they had heaped on them. Despite it all, we’re still talking, writing and listening to Teenage Head nearly four decades after they first roared out of the Hammer.

Cam: Yeah, I think it speaks both the quality and timeless of their music, and the lack of infrastructure in the industry at that time. It always seems like they could’ve been pushed harder in the 1950s vein and been Canada’s straight-up answer to the Stray Cats (which would’ve been awful from a marketing perspective).

Cam: I’d also like your take on why we’re seeing this flurry of books about Canadian punk with efforts from Don Pyle, Liz Worth and Sam Sutherland in recent years. Why now? There doesn’t appear to be an obvious catalyst with the exception of a general “passage of time”. I remember there was a wave of CD re-issues for the Mods, the Diodes, etc. maybe 10-12 years ago but kinda quiet since then. It’s pretty wild how undocumented a lot of this stuff was, considering there is still clearly an audience for it.

Geoff: Why now? That’s a totally good question. One of things I’ve noticed about cultural history in this country, and especially pop cultural history, is that it always has to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the closet and held up. Traditionally, our official approach to pop cultural history is very conservative, predictable and boring: CBC, the Junos, boomer nostalgia, etc. Or, for fuck’s sake, hockey. Lots of the more raw artistic enterprise this country has excelled in — improv comedy, comic book arts, horror movie making — has gone largely ignored until a certain geek boiling point is reached. I also think that when it comes to punk especially, that younger listeners who weren’t around for the ground zero first wave have an enormous curiosity that might even outstrip those of the original participants. This is partly because rock music as a formidable cultural force — one that could actually presume to be changing the world by changing its fashion — is now gone and because of that more romantic than ever. There is nothing more romantic, idealistic and irresistibly attractive than punk, the last real rebellion rock music can lay claim to. Which brings us right to the doorstep of the twentieth anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, the absolute final act of mythical rock romanticism. And, as you know, he was a huge punk worshipper.

Cam: I agree that romanticism about rock music, at least, is gone. If only because everything is so densely documented these days. By sheer volume of content available online (for free!), there is no real effort to being a music fan these days so I think stuff that is devoid of all those trappings is extra appealing. I mean… half of Teenage Head’s catalogue is out of print. Curious. How much time did you spend in Hamilton when you were writing the book? I went to university there and I think that’s partially where my fondness for the band comes from–they do kind of embody a “we’re from Hamilton and we’re OK with that” spirit. I think that’s one of their greatest attributes: there really is very little pretense with their music and there is a real sense of joy and spirit that most bands can’t capture.

Geoff: One of my favourite Hamilton quotes (which I heard more than once), goes like this: ‘Toronto didn’t know shit about punk until Hamilton drove down the highway and showed it how.’ I spent quite a bit of time there doing interviews for the book and I really came to appreciate what a proud, distinct, no-bullshit kind of place it is. And Teenage Head never let anybody forget that’s where they were from. If there’s anything distinctly Hamiltonian about them, it probably has something to do with the blend of work ethic, no-nonsense approach, sense of humour and firm commitment to having a really, really good time. Yeah, their website needs work, their back catalogue needs rescuing and re-release and their legacy needs some kind of formal structure in which to be protected, promoted and developed. How I hope all of that happens, If I had a secret agenda in writing the book, it was getting more Head out there.

Cam: I haven’t seen them since Frankie passed. What are your thoughts on keeping the band going w/o him? It’s obviously a different band w/o him.

Geoff: I think Pete MacAulay, the current singer, does a really great job, and he does so by not trying to be Frank. He’s an old school glam-rocker bantam rooster type with a different voice and approach to showmanship. Plus he came to the band as a lifelong fan. I think bands should stick around as long as they want to, and as long as people want to see and hear them. But what I’d really, really love to see some old unreleased recording released, some old live stuff released, and maybe some new solo recordings from Gord Lewis, perhaps backed up by all those countless younger musicians he got hooked in the first place.

Cam: I remember there was a band called the Vapids during my McMaster campus radio days that had an EP called the Teenage Head EP or something (ed: it wasn’t an EP). And even that was 15-20 years ago. You can see the patterns of generations discovering and keeping the band afloat.

Cam: Final-ish question: what was something surprising about the band you learned while writing the book?

Geoff: I think the most suprising thing is generally how unsuccessful they think they were. Surprising to me at least, considering the fact that with very little radio support, a totally inconsistent recording and management history, and almost no acknowledgement by our official guardians of national culture, they have managed to become legendary, and only moreso as time goes on. I always suspected that my obsessive enthusiasm was shared (I didn’t know just how widely) but was surprised to realize how the band itself felt they’d failed. Like (frig) they did.

Cam: Yeah, I’ve talked to Gordie a couple of times in that past and I always got the feel that he was surprised that anyone would want to talk to him. Again, it’s all kind of endearing to (ahem) “got no sense” of what their legacy actually is. Hopefully the book will help!

Geoff: There’s no justice in rock and roll Cam but there’s always idealism and hope. So even though I should know better after all these years I still cling to them both.

Gods of the Hammer: The Teenage Head Story is available April 30, 2014. Buy some copies here or here. Follow Geoff on Twitter at @GeoffPevere.