Monthly Archives: September 2010

Kate Bush “Man w/ Child..” Revealed



British singer’s “first
true love” selling off the song’s original handwritten lyrics.


By Fred Mills


If you’re a Kate Bush geek (is there any other kind of Bush
fan?), then you’ve no doubt spent many an hour pondering, with furrowed brow,
exactly who was the subject of La Bush’s early hit “The Man With The Child In
His Eyes.” In the internet age, the debate has continued to rage (well,
simmered, perhaps…), with Pink Floyd guitarist (and Bush producer) David
Gilmour frequently getting the nod by default.


But now the burning truth can be revealed: it was her childhood
sweetheart, Steve Blacknell.


According to a report yesterday in Britain’s Daily Mail, Blacknell has come forth, as
these things tend to come forth, via a money grab: he’s selling off Bush’s
original hand-scrawled lyrics to the song (reproduced below), with an asking price of £10,000. It’s
being hawked at memorabilia site


 Described by Blacknell, 58, as a “love
letter” from his old girlfriend, the document hearkens back to around 1975 when
he and Bush were an item around East Wickham.
Blacknell told reporters, “All I really knew about
her was that she wrote songs, played the piano and lived in a lovely house with
an equally lovely family…. I’ll never forget [when] I went round to her house
and she led me to the room where the piano was. I thought “Oh my
God”. What I heard made my soul stand on end. I realised there and then
that I was in love with a genius.


 “I’ve been
told by those around her that I was indeed The Man With The Child In His Eyes
and I know that those words were given to me by someone very special. They say
you never forget your first love and in my case it’s as true as it is for
anyone. It’s true too that she went on to charm, enlighten and entrance people
all over the world.”

You can read the entire story and see photos of Bush at Blacknell at the Daily Mail site.

Justin Earle Cans Tour, Heads to Rehab



Move follows high
profile arrest last week.


By Blurt Staff


Singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle, who recently released
his latest Bloodshot album Harlem River
and also appears in pictorial showing off his array of tattoos in the
new issue of BLURT
, has cancelled his current tour and will be entering rehab,
according to a report at The ongoing tour had been slated to run
through mid November; no rescheduled dates have been announced yet.


The move comes in the wake of Earle’s arrest last Thursday (Sept. 16) in Indianapolis
on a string of charges that include battery (he reportedly smashed up a
dressing room and punched the daughter of the owner of the Radio Radio club),
public intoxication and resisting arrest. A wave of online coverage ensued some of them not particularly flattering, with regular updates being added as more details came in. Shortly after the arrest, Earle
issued a statement saying that the online reports of the incident were
inaccurate but that his lawyer had advised him not to comment further. Earle is due in court on Oct. 19.


A statement posted to Earle’s official website Wednesday
read thusly:


“Justin Townes Earle has decided to suspend the remaining
dates on his tour and enter a rehabilitation facility. Earle is strongly
committed to confronting his on-going struggle with addiction and thanks his
family, friends and fans for their continued support through this difficult


BLURT would like to wish Earle success with his rehab and we
hope to see him back onstage in the very near future.



Blurt’s Video Game Guide #11



Announcing the latest installment in our
“Play For Today” series of video game reviews. This time out we take on Halo:
Reach, Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest, Spider Man: Shattered Dimensions.  Incidentally, don’t miss the debut of “Play
For Today – The Print Version” in the Fall 2010 issue of BLURT, due on
newsstands in mid September.


 By Blurt Staff


Head over to
BLURT blogger Aaron Burgess’ “Play For Today” blog – he’s just posted some
action-packed (term used relatively and literally) reviews of a slew of more
top-rated games. Included are his own ratings plus screenshots – like the ones
below – and trailers. Game on!


(above) Halo:


Lord of the
Rings: Aragorn’s Quest


Spider Man:
Shattered Dimensions

Report: Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh


days. 10 venues. 120 bands”: let’s do this. September 9, 10, 11 brought one of
the biggest and most vibrant music festivals the Tarheel State has ever known,
and we were there…

By John Schacht


In 2003, Charlotte,
North Carolina’s annual Center CityFest died a much-deserved death,
serving up one last hairball that year with a bill that virtually banned local
talent from the stages. As they’d done for years, organizers relied on the
kegger-and-‘shrooms nostalgia of frat boys (Hootie, Widespread Panic), baby
boomer’s expendable income (Steve Winwood), and stale 90s’ AOR leftovers
(Collective Soul) to fill their coffers. Trudging through the dirt and blacktop
parking lots that year in the shadow of Ericsson Stadium where the stages were hastily
thrown up, dejection and ennui clung in the air like poison gas – or maybe that
was just .38 Special.


Good riddance, then, though it seemed the Carolinas would
have to make do with smaller local festivals, single genre-oriented regional
events like Merlefest, and an occasional shindig like Merge Record’s 20th anniversary.


But in March I got an email from Raleigh’s Independent
Music Editor Grayson Currin. He and a couple of other staff members
on the advertising side were putting together a three-day festival in
September. Eventually an impressive list of artists rolled out: “3 days. 10
venues. 120 bands.” read the event posters.



When it finally arrived, the weekend delivered on nearly
every level. The gigs featured just about every imaginable genre – rock,
hip-hop, country rock, metal, dance, punk, noise, free jazz, drone, folk and
more – in every conceivable venue, from rail-thin Slim’s with its curb-high riser
to Raleigh’s impressive open public space, City Plaza.
And though the big draws included a reformed Public Enemy (plus marching
band!), Canada’s electric Broken Social Scene, and Animal Collective’s
sound-manipulator Panda Bear, the local and regional acts who comprised most of
the line-up provided the weekend’s finest moments.


Up-and-coming Triangle folk experimentalists Megafaun (pictured at top, above) transported themselves from venue to
venue like Spock, Kirk and Bones (Brad Cook played bass with three other bands
Friday – that we know of). The trio
played packed day parties, hushed evening improv sets, and after-hours jam
sessions. They also hosted some of the nation’s finest experimental drone
musicians in Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis. At the far other end of
the spectrum, Durhuam rockers Red Collar and MapleStave left their day party
stage splattered with busted guitar parts and their own blood; Charlotte’s Temperance League nearly did the
same during theirs the day before. The sneaky heat generated by The Kingsbury
Manx’s melodic crescendos worked as a perfect buffer between Chapel
Hill neighbor Bellafea’s molten rhythms and the lustrous pop of
Carrboro’s Schooner – all three got the packed Tir na nOg venue primed for the epic
psychedelic folk blend of Philly’s The War on Drugs. And so and so on – “3
days. 10 venues. 120 bands.” Part of the fun of festivals (at least well-run
ones) is the dizzying array of music you can experience in compacted time.
Catching a spine-tingling free jazz set from Chicago’s Jeb Bishop Trio, hopping
down the block for Floating Action’s strangely compelling
Asheville-in-Motown-and-Trenchtown hybrid, then heading down the street for
mind-bending instrumental rock from Tortoise — it’s like avatar-strolling
through your iPod’s “shuffle” button.


But Hopscotch succeeded because it treated the locals and
regionals with the same respect afforded The Big Guns. To feel the love in the
room, as they say, you only had to hear, from stage after stage, bands
expressing genuine thanks to Currin and the Indy
for their commitment to local music coverage, and out-of-town acts –
from the festival-savvy to those more at home playing house shows –
acknowledging the fun they#were
having seeing the locals play.


No doubt there were hitches and glitches behind the scenes,
and sometimes on stage – musicians are not always the fussiest people when it
comes to schedules. But whatever went sideways was quickly forgotten and forgiven,
or simply went unnoticed via the tap, bottle or aluminum can. And of course if
a band didn’t float your boat (looking at you, Bear In Heaven), the one playing
next door most likely would.


On Friday between sets at Tir na nOg, a couple of us Shuffle Magazine staffers chatted with a
member of Charlotte’s Black Congo NC (they’d played Thursday night), who
posited that what made the Carolinas’ music scene special was that it was a
“state” scene and not reliant on any one city. That dovetailed with why our
humble and amusingly dysfunctional publication (which covers the Carolinas’ music scene) made sense – there’d be little
chance we’d ever run out of shit to write about.


In the end, that extraordinary well of regional talent and
diversity was what the inaugural Hopscotch Festival really celebrated, and what
corporate rock schlock like Center CityFest never understands: A vibrant music
scene only exists if you water the roots.


[Megafaun photo by Derek Anderson]


Schacht is a regular contributor to BLURT as well as editor of the exceedingly
fine Carolinas-based music magazine
Shuffle. You can view their latest issue on the web right here.







Column #11: Halo: Reach, Lord of the
Rings: Aragorn’s Quest, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.  Incidentally, don’t miss the debut of “Play
For Today – The Print Version” in the Fall 2010 issue of BLURT, on newsstands now.


By Aaron Burgess


Halo: Reach

Developer: Bungie / Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Platform: Xbox 360

ESRB Rating: M


Since its 2001 debut, the Halo franchise has looked grimly ahead
to a future where the remnants of humanity fight for survival against the
horrific alien alliance Covenant. With Halo: Reach, the objective stays the
same, but for the first time outside of licensed spinoffs, we experience Halo’s
origins direct from the series’ acclaimed developer, Bungie.
(Incidentally, Halo: Reach marks the
end of Bungie’s involvement with the series.)


The gritty, dread-soaked prequel starts at
the dawn of the Halo legend – the
year 2552, to be exact – so there’s no sign of the series’ iconic character Master Chief. Instead, the
primary campaign slips you into the armor of a nameless Spartan warrior fighting in the nascent Noble Team brigade on
planet Reach – which, despite its annihilation in later Halo installments, provides plenty of chances for solo, co-op and
multiplayer triumph here.


also offers a wealth of opportunities to move beyond typical ground
campaigns, with outer-space combat and advanced armor (from jet packs to medic kits)
giving your Spartan remarkable flexibility and capability in battle. Though a
fog of portent hangs over the game – you do, after all, enter it aware of your
world’s eventual  extinction – the
story-driven campaign and expansive maps, combined with the game’s stunning
visuals, make Reach feel like a whole
new world.



Where gameplay is concerned, Reach deftly balances familiar elements
(Halo‘s intuitive control scheme,
after all, defined the modern first-person shooter) with new content and
features. The campaign challenges increase with each new player (you can add up
to four in co-op mode), thanks to vicious enemy AI that will have you racing
friends across the battlefield to score health packs. The new credit-based
ranking system, which bridges the campaign and multiplayer worlds, lets you
earn and spend your way to a fully customized Spartan – even in the game’s cut
scenes. And the Forge features turn over the keys not only to Reach‘s competitive maps, but also to
multiplayer and Firefight games themselves-meaning you have a sandbox that
extends all the way into the Reach rulebook.


Ironically, in (ahem) reaching back to
Halo’s salad days for its storyline, Halo:
never asks the same of players – and this, more so than the
butt-kicking new features, may be the game’s strongest selling point. It may be
the trickiest Halo game to master
(woe to you who start in Legendary mode), but Reach is also the easiest of the series’ games to enter – and from
its customizable DNA to its virtually endless multiplayer possibilities, it’s
the hardest Halo game to leave.


Rating: 9/10



The Lord Of The Rings: Aragorn’s Quest

Developer: Headstrong
/ Publisher: Warner
Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Platforms: Wii, Nintendo DS,
PlayStation 3, PS2, PSP



It’s hard to deliver just one review of The Lord Of The Rings: Aragorn’s Quest,
given that the experience of the game varies wildly as you move from console
(where the game shines) to handheld (where it’s largely a basic button-masher).
Assuming, then, that you’re up for the best of all experiences, here’s a taste
of what to expect from the game’s superior Wii and PS3 versions. (Full
disclosure: The Wii version was played exclusively for this review.)


The third-person adventure starts after the
close of the J.R.R. Tolkien-via-Peter Jackson
trilogy, focusing (as you might’ve guessed from the title) on the continued
adventures of Aragorn Strider. (In keeping more
with the film version of the tale, our hero appears in his Viggo Mortensen visage.) The
actual gameplay is a bit more meta, though: You enter Aragorn’s Quest as a hobbit child, listening to tales of Aragorn’s
adventures from your pop, Samwise Gamgee, and then
experiencing the quests through your imagination, as Aragorn. If that concept
has your head spinning, don’t sweat it: Essentially, Aragon’s Quest is a kid-friendly experience that, thanks to its
faithfulness to the Tolkien-Jackson epic, older players won’t find to be too



In fact, Aragorn’s Quest is actually a series of quests – some of which find you guarding companions; others in which you’re
seeking objects – covering an eight-level journey through a beautifully
rendered version of Middle-Earth. Expectedly, each quest is disrupted by a
healthy assortment of enemies, which you take on using your Wii Remote to
control Aragorn’s sword. The kid-friendly difficulty ensures that seasoned
gamers will have no trouble cutting down orcs, trolls and other beasts, and,
thanks to a reward system that boosts your capabilities as you progress through
the game, the combat develops enough to keep you engaged even when the
swordplay feels dull.


Fighting, of course, isn’t the only
adventure in Aragorn’s Quest – neither,
for that matter, is the linear adventure. The game offers enough side quests
and hidden items to keep you wandering happily for hours, so detours generally
prove worth the effort. And if you’re not the type to enter a journey alone,
the two-player co-op mode allows a friend (or parent) to step in as Gandalf – who,
just as in the trilogy, has enough tricks up his sleeve to get Aragorn out of
the biggest pickle. Wait-do they have pickles in Middle-Earth?


Rating: 7/10



Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions

Developer: Beenox / Publisher: Activision

Platforms: Xbox 360,
PlayStation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS, PC



Good things come in pairs; awesome things
come in quadruplets-at least that’s how Spider-Man:
Shattered Dimensions
seems to view the world. The game takes you on a
thrill ride through a quartet of the web-slinger’s incarnations – Amazing,
Noir, Ultimate and 2099 – each of which inhabits its own universe with its own
idiosyncratic enemy abilities, attack style and visual design. And that’s before
you get to the hidden gems beneath the surface. (Side note: The DS version,
which isn’t covered in this review, omits the Ultimate Spidey.)


Racing against Mysterio to reclaim a mystical “Tablet Of Order And Chaos” (long story…), the notorious Madame Web summons all four versions of Spider-Man to align
the universes and restore order. This jumping-off point is about as deep as
you’ll actually get into the story, though and that’s fine: Simple though it
may be, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions‘ plot neatly ties together developer Beenox’s conceptual vision and allows for hours of frenzied action across the four
universes’ dozens of levels and boss battles.



Yes, “boss” implies linear flow, and unlike its open-world
counterparts, Spider-Man: Shattered
zips from A to Z across a range of indoor and outdoor
environments – as well as between first- and third-person perspectives.
Detours, however, abound: Each level also contains challenges that, along with
Spidey’s enemy defeats, help you rack up spendable “spider essence”
that can be used to expand your capabilities, costumes, combos and more. The
reward system quickly proves addictive–so much so that you may come back after
completing the game just to see how much more Spider-mojo you can collect.

Rating: 8/10





Our game guru, Aaron
Burgess, lives digitally but dreams in analog down in Round Rock, Texas. Contact him at  / AIM: First2Letters




Fern Knight Takes on King Crimson!



Acclaimed psych/folk quartet to release new
album in early November.


Blurt Staff


Records has announced the impending fourth release from psych/folk quartet Fern
Titled Castings, it’s due
Nov. 9. The record is described as “somewhat less fastidious” than 2008’s
comparatively ornate Fern Knight,
boastin “a warm, analog feel, with looser and louder performances from the


 Led by Margaret Ayre’s voice, guitar, and
cello, the group stretches out on rockier fare like “The Poisoner,”
growling with fuzz, while leaving plenty of room for softer moments. There are
also “jammy” moments but everything is expertly sized and placed,
with not a moment wasted on doodles. The centerpiece of the album is the band’s
treatment of the King Crimson epic “doom” classic
“Epitaph.” Trading their own cello and violin for the original’s
signature mellotron, the group channels the vibe of the original while making
it their own. Margaret’s cool and understated vocal plays it straight in a
situation that less assured players and performers would make a bombastic mess


As on
the self-titled CD, Jesse Sparhawk’s harp and James Wolf’s violin provide the
heart of the sound in many spots, a unique strategy that lets the band update
the classic genre forms and styles while making them their own.



Report: Neil Young Live in Miami



In a
solo acoustic/electric show last night (Sept. 23) at Hollywood’s (near Miami) Hard
Rock Live venue, Young previewed material from his new album
Noise (due in stores next week) while
offering up a healthy sampling of his back catalog. Verdict? The new stuff’s
charm is fleeting, but the rest of the tunes remain among the most durable in
the great American songbook. Opening for Young: Allen Toussaint, subbing for an
ailing Bert Jansch.


By Lee Zimmerman


Few performers can actually be described as genuine musical
chameleons, artists that change their MO with practically every new release so
as to leave fans guessing their next move. David Bowie fit that bill back in
the day. Tom Waits and Todd Rundgren occasionally qualify as well. But as far
as an artist that continues to morph and change his persona, even now, 45 years
into his prodigious career, no one comes close to the ongoing synthesis of Neil
Young. From Rock to Rockabilly, Folk to Country, Grunge to Thrash and
experiments with ambiance and electronica – not to mention his occasional side
jaunts with Crosby Stills Nash and Young and Crazy Horse – Young is famous for
keeping his audiences guessing and breathlessly anticipating his every move.


It’s no different in concert, which finds his performances
offering an overview that glances back at the expanse of his early catalogue
while also previewing newer material. Young’s solo show at the Hard Rock would
have seemed ample opportunity to sample his more subdued side, but in truth, he
went mellow only in moderation. Looking dapper in a white fedora, seersucker
sports jacket, dark tee shirt and jeans, he won the capacity crowd’s approval
early on, performing acoustic versions of “My My, Hey Hey,” “Tell Me Why” and
“Helpless” in succession, seemingly intent on fulfilling the audience’s
expectation that he’d return to his wandering hippie days of old. But then
again, Young is also known for foiling that anticipation and here he did the
same. Although he did shuffle from acoustic guitar to upright piano to grand
piano and, for one number, “After the Goldrush,” even to a pipe organ – all
with his ever present harmonica in tow – he also took ample opportunity to rock
out on electric guitar with a ferocity that rivaled his full band shows.


Likewise, being famous for testing new songs on unsuspecting
audiences, Young took ample opportunity to do that as well. With a new album
due next week – convincingly dubbed Le
, a series of atmospheric soundscapes featuring Young alone on guitar
directed through the ambitious agenda of producer Daniel Lanois – Young treated
his adoring audience to no less than six of the album’s eight songs, and
introduce a pair of tunes that have yet to find any home at all — “You Never
Call” and an odd would-be children’s song played at the piano called “Lela.”
The latter provided his most expansive introduction of the evening (“This is a
song for all the little people, people too little to be here tonight. Mama said
‘nope.’ … all the tiny, little redneck people…”). It was an especially
auspicious intro, given that his comments were mostly random and infrequent.


Truth be told, the Le
material sounded somewhat slight, consisting mainly of Young
thrashing about on electric guitar and tossing in lyrics that seemed to be
obsessed with darker themes. In fact, one, “Love and War,” would have fit
comfortably on his protest opus from four years back, the searing Living with War. Overall however, the
material seemed little more than another grand experiment like Trans, one will eventually find its way
to the margins of his ample catalogue. With nearly half the concert devoted to
unknown offerings, the crowd was often left milling about impatiently, eagerly
anticipating the next chestnut that would reverberate with second-nature
familiarity. Fortunately, there was a fair sample of those as well – riveting
versions of “Down by the River” and “Cortez the Killer,” the obvious and
expected “Cinnamon Girl” and “Ohio,” a tender
“I Believe in You,” and the somewhat ironic encore of “Old Man.” Indeed, at age 64, Young was clearly
more suited to sing the song’s lyrics from the perspective of the title
character. Even so, he stuck to the original lyric, describing himself as “24
and there’s so much more” just as he did four decades back. Given that his
voice – that famous high pitched warble that still defines him – still sounds
as sturdy as ever, and that he’s no less energized or ambitious, we can only
hope that in fact the “so much more” still proves prophetic.


Young was preceded by legendary New Orleans pianist, producer and songwriter
Allen Toussaint, a last-minute substitution for British folkie Bert Jansch, who
had to bow out early due to illness. With a brassy voice and a sprightly
keyboard style, the ever-affable Toussaint charmed the crowd and narrated a
tour of sorts through his prolific career, touching on the numerous top ten
hits that have likely made him a very wealthy man. Among them were “Mother-in-law,”
Southern Nights,” “Fortune Teller,” “Brickyard Blues,” “Working in a Coalmine,”
and the instrumental “Java,” songs that have been covered by a remarkably
eclectic group of patrons, including the Stones, the Yardbirds, Ernie K. Doe,
the Judds and Glen Campbell. “I’d like to thank all those who are only going to
see the back of my head all night,” he offered up early on. Nevertheless, being
heard, if not seen, was all that mattered.




1.         My My, Hey
Hey (Out Of The Blue)

2.         Tell Me Why

3.         Helpless

4.         You Never

5.         Peaceful Valley Boulevard

6.         Love And War

7.         Down By The

8.         Hitchhiker

9.         Ohio

10.       Sign Of Love

11.       Leia

12.       After The
Gold Rush

13.       I Believe In

14.       Rumblin’

15.       Cortez The

16.       Cinnamon Girl


17.       Old Man

18.       Walk With Me




New Steve Wynn & M3 Due from Yep Roc



“Psychedelic, greasy,
sneaky, manic, wise, seasoned, nervous and ragged in all the right places.”
Yep. Sounds like Wynn to us.


By Blurt Staff 


Earlier this month we published a lengthy interview with
Steve Wynn
, talking about his early band the Dream Syndicate’s 1984 album Medicine Show, and towards the end of
the conversation he disclosed that he was putting the finishing touches on a
new studio album from his current band the Miracle 3, recorded in Richmond and
in the process of being mixed in NYC.


Titled Northern Aggression,
it’s the first M3 album in five years, for as Wynn put it, “We’ve been playing
in the meantime, and I love the band, but I’ve also been doing different things
and everyone had stuff going on so we didn’t do it until now.”


Well, the wait was worth it, particularly if you’re willing
to wait until Nov. 30 as that’s when Yep Roc will do the release honors. A tour
will no doubt follow, so meanwhile, here’s the official word from the label to
get you thinking about all this and more…



Steve Wynn remembers
the day that he and the Miracle 3 entered the city limits of Richmond, VA last
fall ready to embark on recording the band’s first new album together in more
than five years.  Wynn got on the phone with his old pal and band mate Stephen
McCarthy who jokingly warned him to “leave your northern aggression at the
door.”  The phrase seemed funny, ironic, apropos and, as a result,
naturally became the favorite catch phrase of the session and, inevitably, the


Wynn and his partners
in crime were the fast talking, hard hitting, hyped-up, tightly coiled Yankees –
that’s not a baseball reference, let’s save that for Wynn’s other combo, The
Baseball Project – sliding into the slower, easier, drawling, mysterious
Southern lifestyle for a week.  Anyone who has followed Wynn’s long
recording history knows his love for throwing himself into unfamiliar
territory, leaving open the possibility of surprise, befuddlement, inspiration
and adventure.


Working with the
father-son engineering team of Bruce and Adrian Olsen (the former engineered
both Gutterball albums) allowed Wynn and the band, which includes Jason Victor,
Linda Pitmon and Dave Decastro, the chance to work around the clock. 
Bruce was behind the board at 8 a.m.; Adrian would close up shop about 18 hours
later.  They all slept at some point in between.  As for the result?
Northern Aggression -the title is a
reference to what some below the Mason Dixon line call the Civil War- is
psychedelic, greasy, sneaky, manic, wise, seasoned, nervous and ragged in all
the right places. Mixed in Brooklyn by
Nicolas Vernhes (Spoon, Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, Stephen Malkmus) this is no civil war, no bloody
battle, no historical reenactment.  No, this is Wynn and the Miracle 3
doing what they do best-colliding against each other and their surroundings,
not holding back and barely taking stock until all was done.  It’s what
they do.  To paraphrase Ornette Coleman, this is their Northern Aggression.  Enjoy.



Th’ Cigaretz Jerry Williams 1949-2010 R.I.P.



Musician also was
integral on the NYC hardcore scene and helped bring the Bad Brains to national


By Fred Mills


Sad news for punk and hardcore fans arrived a couple of
days: according to an obituary at Papermag by Holly George Warren, Jerry Lee Williams (aka Jay Dublee) passed away on
September 19 following a protracted stint with failing health brought on by
liver problems. He was 61. Williams, a North Carolina
native born in Charlotte, was a founding member
of legendary Raleigh
punk pioneers Th’ Cigaretz, and later a New York City-based producer and
soundman whose studio at 171 Avenue A was a nexus for the burgeoning NYC
hardcore scene during the early ‘80s. Over the years he worked with the likes
of the Bad Brains, Beastie Boys, Reagan Youth and the Velvet Monkeys,
additionally playing in bands that included Hi Sheriffs of Blue, Workdogs and Church of
the Little Green Man.




On a personal note: I was on the
Chapel Hill-Raleigh scene in the mid/late ‘70s and saw Th’ Cigaretz perform
many times, often on a double bill with my dear friends The H-Bombs (featuring
Peter Holsapple and Mitch Easter). Williams founded the band along with Byron
McCay and drummer Scott Jarvis, and their performances were instrumental in
kickstarting the Triangle area punk scene. The members also had a hand in a
now-legendary Raleigh-based punk fanzine, Blind
Boys Gazette
, that was also a key manifestation of various punk scene goings-on.  


A highlight of a Cigaretz show was
frequently when the band would assault (theoretically) unsuspecting members of
the audience with bags of chips, popcorn and other junk food; that, plus the
sheer volume and in-your-face attitude, was generally enough to clear the room
of any lingering hippie presence and ensure plenty of room on the dance floor
for the pogo contingent. And then there was the legendary Halloween show when
the band played 3 sets, and for each set they dressed up as a dead rock star’s
band – time to slay some sacred cows – and while my memory is a tad wobby, I
think the bands were Jimi Hendrix, the Doors and Buddy Holly. Their lone
full-length 1978’s Crawl Rite Outta My
(Cancer Records) remains a visceral document, as do the
numerous live tapes that have survived, and is today quite the Tarheel


A couple of years after Williams
and Jarvis had gotten their studio up and running, I was vacationing NYC and
dropped in at the facility to say hello. At one point a tall dreadlocked
African-American casually wandered past, nodding at Jarvis, who informed me
that it was one of the Bad Brains – Jerry Williams, of course, produced and recorded
the Bad Brains’ 1982 debut and subsequently worked as their live soundman.



[Cigaretz photo by Malcolm Riviera;
Williams photo by Caki Kallas]


MP3 Premiere: Mike Watt/Floored By Four



Song “Miss Yuka” (as in,
Yuka Honda) taken from the band’s self-titled debut, out next week.


By Fred Mills


So if you’ve picked up the new issue of BLURT (the one with
Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes and Janelle Monae on the cover), you’ve no doubt
spotted the glowing review of the new CD from Floored By Four – aka
Minutemen/Stooges bassist Mike Watt, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, Cibo Matto
keyboardist Yuka Honda and in-demand avant-garde percussionist Dougie Browne.
Offers our astute reviewer, of the Floored
By Four


“[They] make with the
atonal jazz-soul noise and roll with furious funk. Four songs singularly named and
composed by the bassist for each of the quartet’s members, the Floored By Four started
as Watt’s “New York
project,” and wound up as a testament to their shared love of Krautrock,
Captain Beefheart and latter-day Miles Davis, with some Stax stuff thrown in as
a good luck rabbit’s (good) foot. Add to the grueling groove and the simmering
avant-soul the stop-and-start complexity of four improvisational-ists at the
top of their games.”


The rec’s officially released by Chimera Music next week,
and we’ve got an MP3 premiere clip right here for you to get you started. Check
it out. You’ll be glad you did.


Floored By Four – Miss Yuka