Putting the “L” back in both legend and Little Diesel… And the “P” back in both punk and The Pump…
By Fred Mills
Attendees at the recent Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh, NC, were treated to quite a show by the legendary Television, and it was made even more special because the opening act was NC’s Sneakers, that Winston-Salem-spawned/Chapel Hill-reared, group of pre-punk era Tarheels who would later turn into random members of the H-Bombs, dB’s, Secret Service, and Let’s Active. Go HERE and HERE to see just a few of our friend’s comments and photos of the Sneakers set.
Now word arrives that Sneakers, along with W-S ’70s-era compatriots Little Diesel, will be appearing at Durham’s Motorco venue on October 20. Rather than proselytize – you can read some of my observations on a number of the musicians elsewhere on the Blurt site – allow me to simply direct you to what Motorco is saying in regards to why you might want to consider picking up tickets and making the road trip. See ya there, kissy boys, and don’t try to tell me that you can’t attend simply because love is like a Cuban crisis….
SNEAKERS: Before The dB’s and Let’s Active, there was Sneakers! Stamey, an icon of indie pop, and friend Mitch Easter began to explore recording techniques in Winston-Salem, NC, during their youth. In 1976, Chris and his band, Sneakers (including drummer Will Rigby, with appearances from Easter), released a single on Stamey’s own Carnivorous Records. The sessions were engineered by Don Dixon, who would eventually produce bands like R.E.M. (with Easter) and The Smithereens. Stamey & Rigby would go on to form The dB’s and Easter would reappear in Let’s Active—but the Sneakers single remains vital in not only independent record history, but music in general. [Above photo by Larry Tucker, from the Hopscotch show]
LITTLE DIESEL: In 1973, when most of teenage Winston-Salem lay intoxicated by the sound of mellow southern rock, one select group of insouciant, incendiary Reynolds scalawags took a sharp left turn, clutching Mott the Hoople and New York Dolls albums and started LITTLE DIESEL, the Twin City’s first punk rock band. Fueled by cases of Mickey’s, LITTLE DIESEL took their audiences hostage and exposed them to anarchic rock heretofore unknown in these parts. Bob Northcott’s stylized and soulful vocals were augmented by a formidable dual guitar fusillade from Tom Eshelman and Peter Holsapple and underpinned by bassist Phil Thomas and powerhouse drummer Will Rigby. The die was cast, and the legend was born. If you saw the band then, likely as not you’ve never forgotten it. And now 43 years later, the original LITTLE DIESEL reunites for another show, opening for NC legends SNEAKERS OCTOBER 20 at MOTORCO in DURHAM NC. The snarling attitude and powerful sound is intact and revitalized, and LITTLE DIESEL rises again. [Above photo from Holsapple’s blog]