Sunday, June 19, 2011

BIG MAN…ASSIST ME PLEASE!!! A Remembrance of Clarence Clemons

by Greg Maniha

Those immortal words uttered by Mr. Springsteen thousands of times during the course of nearly 40 years to his irreplaceable saxophonist, vocalist, and stage personality have created so many smiles you could spend a lifetime attempting to count them. It would take nearly as much time attempting to count or isolate the greatest moments of Mr. Clarence Clemons while sharing the stage with Springsteen.

As often as I heard that crazy dialogue between that possessed street preacher you ran with and yourself it began to dawn on me that I believed everything he told us about you! You really were the king of the world and the master of the universe! Hey Big Man, did you hear about this story? I’m sure you did because nothing escapes the king of the world, right? There was this amazing musician named John Lennon who was a fan of the music you were a part of creating. In his final interview, he spoke about idol worship within rock and roll. As he spoke about the trials and tribulations of his own experience, he also expressed great fear and concern for your musical counterpart. He feared that Mr. Springsteen would be buried by the same pressures that did him in before Mark David Chapman destroyed his life, widowed his wife, left his sons without a father and permanently altered the world by forcing it to go on without him. Speaking about the media manipulation that impacted him as a megastar in a post Beatles world and completely relating to what Mr. Springsteen was up against, he said "And God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he's no longer God. ... They'll turn on him, and I hope he survives it." Mr. Lennon didn’t live to see his hopes realized, but Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band not only survived the media manipulation machine, it faced down a popular conservative two term U.S. President who understood nothing about the creative work all of you were a part of and thrived with style for another 30 years beyond the date of Mr. Lennon’s interview. Perhaps not the rest of us, but more than enough of us never decided that the boss was no longer god and that you were no longer the master of the universe. We simply didn’t allow the media to make this call and they wisely decided not to argue with us. Mortality unfortunately didn’t follow the lead of the media and now I’m kind of “lost in the flood,” so to speak. Big Man…assist me please!

How does one write a eulogy for the master of the universe? How is one supposed to come up with, say, your five greatest moments when they took place night after night on every stage you ever set foot on with the E Street Band? The easy solution for a hack writer would be to list the studio work that created your identity. It goes without saying that the beloved "10th Avenue Freeze Out" with perhaps the greatest intro of any E Street Band composition immortalizes the fact that you even graced Springsteen with your presence, let alone joined the band! Your saxophone solo on "Jungleland" created a rock opera out of record and turned an entire suite of songs into one of the greatest things ever pressed onto wax. It doesn’t even bear thinking about a "Badlands" without you taking over the solo from the boss and his Esquire. "Hungry Heart" would be far more than incomplete if it didn’t have you to send it home and literally take ownership of the song before it closes. Although many longtime fans might not agree with me, "Radio Nowhere" was a perfect example of the power you still held and the passion to deliver your musical contribution to the world. It might be the best representation of a dual lead with Nils Lofgren, which never seemed to take place during studio sessions. Regardless of this immortal documentation known by fans and detractors alike, it seems to me to be, well, for the masses. I have yet to read the many obituary pieces that will appear in newspapers across the globe, but I have a feeling at least one of these compositions will be cited in the majority of them. As beloved as the compositions were, there was so much more to your musical and social contribution. The fact that you refused to allow the limitations of your body to prevent you from making your mark time and time again is a legacy in and of itself. The lives of the people you touched measure in the thousands. So many of us will never have the chance to tell you in person, but as the master of the universe I already know you feel each and every one of them.

I’ll never forget when my son, now six years old, first started feeling the power of your music. He was only three at the time, but the world he knew was shattering around him because the adults in his life that love him couldn’t work together easily for his sake. He couldn’t understand why things were happening the way they were but I was determined to never leave him behind regardless of adult conflicts. I wasn’t living with him at the time but stubbornly refused to go a day without spending time with him. I would pick him up in the afternoon and we would drive to a favorite park from there followed by a nightly father and son dinner. This resulted in many hours spent in a car with his dad’s collection of “Brucelegs.” It was the FM recording of your legendary show at the Roxy in LA on 7/7/78 that sealed the deal. Your saxophone solo during Badlands on this particular evening pulled him in from the beginning. When he first heard it he asked me excitedly what was making that sound so of course out of concern I asked if he liked it. With an ear to ear grin he gave me an enthusiastic yes! A musical bond between father and son was born in a moment that lives to this day. “Roxy Night” became the soundtrack to my lifeline for a threatened relationship with my son. Big Man, even the master of the universe can’t keep track of everything all at once so I’m not sure anybody had the chance to tell you how much I owe you for playing such a major role in cementing the relationship between my son and I. That solo you played on "Badlands" in LA during 1978 paved the way for a three-year-old boy to start requesting your musical highlights. Badlands remained the favorite but requests for Sprit In The Night and For You quickly followed suit. This musical conversation with my 3 year old son became so powerful it escaped from the Roxy to take over Darkness On The Edge Of Town, The River (yes, he likes "Crush On You"!) Born To Run, Magic and even the obscure cuts on Tracks. For him, it was all about the boss and the big man. It was inevitable that he would end up asking me about concerts with Bruce and the Big Man. I told him that I had seen both of you many times and he insisted that I take him to see a concert TOMORROW. After some explaining he changed his demand to the next concert in San Francisco where we were living at the time.

By the time the Working On A Dream tour opened in San Jose, my son had at least 16 songs he was hoping to hear. He was eight days away from turning four and this was his birthday present (well, this and some lego bricks of course…he does have his priorities.) At the top of his list for the evening was "Badlands", Bruce and THE BIG MAN! Words cannot do justice to the joy you gave my son when you walked out on to that stage with Bruce. He kept screaming repeatedly “There they are!” As I tried to give him earplugs, with a smile and an audience of his own he threw them into the crowd. I had an extra pair so of course I gave it another shot only to have the same thing happen twice. He was determined to have as raw of a rock and roll experience as possible the way only you two could deliver it. When you launched into "Badlands" I have never seen a bigger smile on his face or mine. Watching him actually feel his favorite song take over his heart and soul was a high like no other. Hearing him share with me new favorites he heard for the first time at the concert accompanied with the determination to attend another show ASAP was the kind of conversation not many are blessed to have with their three-year-old son. A new tramp was born that night. You gave this to us Big Man. During a time in our lives when we needed joy of this magnitude, you gave this to us! Whether a written piece is published in Rolling Stone or an undiscovered blog, the content is a matter of opinion most of the time and in my humble opinion, this was one of your greatest musical moments. After that amazing evening my son along with my father and I would attend the 4th night at Giants Stadium together. By the time this show took place during the final leg of the same tour, he was a seasoned four-year-old tramp that knew he was hearing the complete Born To Run record and wanted to be in the pit so he could be closer to you. We had good seats, but he was already a purist. This would be our last show together as he wasn’t allowed to attend more than one night (he was not pleased about that at all!) After that night we would discuss planning better for the next tour because I was “no longer allowed” to attend without him. It’s now 1:30 AM in New Jersey on Father’s Day and you’re not even 24 hours into your new journey. I explained to him that you had to leave us. After asking why, he told me he understood that sometimes people get hurt too badly to be helped. Upon absorbing the brutal reality that you’re not coming back, he simply walked up to me, gave me a hug, and said “I love you dad and I love the Big Man.”

Well Big Man, from here I could talk about the emotional saxophone solo you played during "Drive All Night" at the St. Louis show in 2008. I could talk about that superb E Street version of the Coasters “And Then (S)he Kissed Me" that you owned during the same St. Louis show. I could go on for hours about the Boss kissing you before starting "Wrecking Ball" like one would kiss the ring of Don Vito Corleone during the final shows at Giants Stadium. I could talk about insanity of the extra-long intro of "10th Avenue Freeze Out" during the final show on the Magic tour in Kansas City. I could talk about how you personally impacted me on a musical level with every concert I ever saw, every “bruceleg” I ever acquired, and every record I ever listened to so many times over.

Regardless of my favorite musical moment of yours I ever witnessed on stage or within a recording, during a time when my son and I needed it more than ever, Big Man, you assisted me! Bruce was right! You really are the master of the universe! Thank you king of the world, the master of the universe, weighing in at 250 pounds, the big man Clarence Clemons! Thank you!

"Paradise By The C" Live 1978 Capital Center in Landover, Maryland:

"Prove It All Night" Landover '78:

"Kitty's Back" Passaic 1978:

Saturday, June 18, 2011


We here at the IRT are devastated to announce the passing of rock 'n' roll's greatest saxophonist, Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band, who succumbed to complications following the suffering of a stroke six days earlier at his Florida home, according to Reuters.

Bruce Springsteen just addressed fans tonight of the loss of his friend and band mate of 40 years with this quote: "It is with overwhelming sadness that we inform our friends and fans that at 7:00 tonight, Saturday, June 18, our beloved friend and bandmate, Clarence Clemons passed away. The cause was complications from his stroke of last Sunday, June 12th. Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the oppurtunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band."

Words cannot express how major this loss is not only to Boss fans but to the music world in general. The Big Man's shoes can never be filled, and our thoughts and condolences go out to his family, friends and legions of admirers all over the world. -Ed.

"When the change was made uptown/And the big man joined the band/From the coastline to the city/All the little pretties raise their hands."

Clarence Clemons on meeting Bruce Springsteen:

"Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" at the 1999 Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony:

"You're A Friend Of Mine" with Jackson Browne:

"Jungleland", London 2009:

Friday, June 17, 2011


Medicine Babies (ZerOKilled)
No Surrender has been cast under a lot of genres, as is usually the case with misunderstood underground music. It’s not easy being unique in Brooklyn, a place where unique is considered a norm. Led by Eddie Steeples, more famously known as the Crabman from NBC's sadly defunct sitcom My Name Is Earl, the group been called hip-hop, synth, electronic, techno, afro-punk, alternative and soul. However, I think I can safely say that they are one of the first bands I’ve ever heard to really capture all their supposed sounds and blend them into one unique mix. For the sake of brevity, let’s just call it Medicine Babies. The album starts with springy, chunky beats (“Falling Into You”, “Godda Get It”, & “You’re a Star”) that exemplify that working blend of synth-pop and soul. Funky, falsetto choruses topped with forceful verses create an atmospheric swirl - call it a new twist on your favorite club song. That synthesizer continues to spread throughout the entire LP, but slows down for the trippy, hypnotic “Silver Hall”, featuring Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio. “Mountain” and “Carousel” bring the album to a close, dropping the pace but keeping those simple melodies alive. It seems to be the vein of the entire album – simple melody with a strong beat. Trust me when I say that isn’t a bad thing, either - it’s like 30 years of pop rolled up into one record. Just don’t call it house, whatever you do. -Toni Odell

BATTLES Gloss Drop (Warp)
A lot of hullabaloo was made last year when it was announced that guitarist and de facto frontman Tyondai Braxton would be departing the ranks of NYC's premier experimental rock supergroup Battles. But to be honest with you, for as good as their 2007 full-length debut Mirrored was, that whole alien voice shtick that dude would lace each track was with totally fucking annoying. I signed up with Battles to hear the combination of Braxton, former Don Caballero guitarist Ian Williams, bassist Dave Konopka and one-time Helmet/Tomahawk drum god John Stanier push the boundaries of instrumentalism into unknown territories of rhythm and structure. If I wanted to hear someone sing through pitch modulation like an acid-damaged cartoon, I'll refer to my handy copy of Ween's The Pod, thank you very much. But with Braxton out of the picture, it was the hope that Battles would press on by expanding upon the innovative nature of their first three EPs that peppered the early-to-mid 00s. And for fans of their wordless salad days, Gloss Drop will definitely be seen as a return to form of sorts. Yes, there are indeed vocals present in the mix on this second LP for the Warp label in the form of imaginative guest turns from such prolific voices as synth giant Gary Numan, minimalist techno great Matias Aguayo, Blonde Redhead singer Kazu Makino and Boredoms shaman Yamantaka Eye on his finest cameo since the Naked City record. But overall, Gloss Drop is a largely instrumental affair, although the band seems to have moved on from the IDM-emulating riddims of their earliest work in favor of a sound that delves deeper into a more angular prog-pop idiom. At times, this new direction veers a little too close into Pokemon territory on tracks like "Ice Cream" and "Wall Street". But on cooler cuts like "Inchworm" and "Futura", the quixotic quartet veer off into the Bermuda Triangle of island-style abstract groove that takes their music into a whole new stratosphere of strange that is unlike anything they, or anyone else for that matter, have done before. -Ron Hart

FUCKED UP David Comes To Life (Matador)
When you have a band with a name as dubious as Fucked Up, what more can you do to ensure your proverbial monkeywrench continues to grind the gears of the very establishment you rally against? Well, you would beat its poorest, most flagrantly commercial excuse for a punk band at its own game, of course. And that is exactly what this Toronto-based hardcore outfit has accomplished with their career-defining third album David Comes To Life, a 78-minute-long concept piece that serves as the Stephen Sondheim antithesis to American Idiot's Andrew Lloyd Weber-esque grandiosity. Equal parts Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade, The Who's Quadrophenia and Steven Soderbergh's 2006 no-budget whodunit Bubble, the storyline revolves around a guy named David who works at a light bulb factory who falls in love with a girl who shares his beliefs in social anarchy. They conspire to build a bomb together and, after she breaks it off with him, he's the prime suspect in her murder. Remarkably, the group pulls it off without a hitch, thanks to guitarist Mike Haliechuk's revolutionary vision of what hardcore could be once it sheds its mookish narrow-mindedness and explores sonic terrain not normally associated with the art and frontman Damian Abraham's stellar sense of prose and storytelling. David Comes To Life is an incredibly impressive display of how far a particular style of music could go the moment it abandons the tethers of its fanbase's preconceived notions. -Ron Hart

No Surrender's "Young World"

Battles "Futura" live at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC April 27, 2011:

Fucked Up on David Comes To Life:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

IVAN JULIAN: THE IRT INTERVIEW -- NYC Punk Luminary Returns With Long Awaited Solo Album

Story by Ron Hart

For over 35 years, guitarist Ivan Julian has been a seminal figure on the New York punk movement, first as a member of Richard Hell and the Voidoids and the sorely underrated Outsets (not to mention The Lovelies) and later as a record producer, working out of the Lower East Side studio he shares with fellow axeman Matt Verta-Ray of Speedball Baby and Heavy Trash fame called NY HED, where they have worked with such legendary figures as Andre Williams, Kid Congo Powers, James Chance and the Contortions, The Mighty Hannibal and Ronnie Spector to name just a few. For a time he also served as a gun for hire, working alongside the likes of The Clash, Matthew Sweet, Afrika Bambaataa and Shriekback on some of their most acclaimed works.

Earlier this year, Julian released his long-overdue solo debut, The Naked Flame, on the small 00:02:59 label. It is nothing short of a beautiful blast of throwback Bowery punk that stands tall with his very best performances on such classic LPs as The Voidoids' Blank Generation, Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend and The Clash's Sandinista! The IRT was incredibly lucky to have Ivan take a moment from his busy schedule running NY HED and promoting the new record to talk with us about a whole host of topics, particularly some very fond memories of his late friend and fellow Voidoid Robert Quine, who unfortunately committed suicide via heroin overdose on May 31, 1994, following the loss of his wife.

With so many great stories to tell from his years in one of American music's most important movements, it is indeed an honor to have the input of this essential figure in New York rock grace the virtual pages of IRT. The Naked Flame is available on Amazon and at better record stores in the NYC area.


IRT: Why the long wait to record an album under your own name?
Ivan Julian:
I never really thought of it that way. I have always been making music; it's what I do. This record 'came about' because the band I recorded with, 'Capsula' did such an amazing job of playing the songs on the demo I sent them that I really had to do it. The songs have always been there.

IRT: Re: the song "You Is Dead", one of the great highlights of The Naked Flame and your tribute to longtime friend and bandmate Robert Quine...where were you when you first heard about Robert Quine's passing?
Richard [Hell] called me at home. I sat down and played the piano as I do when I get this kind of news. One never gets used to it.

IRT: Did you stay in touch with Quine through the years? Did you guys ever get together to jam or record?
Bob and I were close until the very end. He told me he was going to do this (off himself), because of the pain he was feeling over the loss of his wife. My response was, "Please don't Bob!" He was never one who could tolerate much discomfort and this was all too much for him. Richard and I even discussed ways to help him, as did his other friends but his friends couldn't be there all the time. For anyone who's been through something like this; it's hard to judge someone's actions when they hurt so much. However, you do feel a small tinge of anger because it is ultimately a selfish act. You wanna say, "Hey man, we have to deal with all this shit, too. Why can't you?" And now, "You is Dead". Neither of us were the jamming type. We would get together and trade riffs, listen to records or check out new/old effects pedals and see what kind of sick sounds we could get out of them. It was always major fun!

IRT: What is your favorite memory of Robert Quine?
We knew each other for such a long time so there were many but I have to say one sticks out... In Darby, England on the Clash tour, when he slowly took his guitar off and full throttle smashed this guy upside the head that was gobbing on him. Completely out of character and completely Brilliant! There were also the times when together we would go out to the Mudd Club or Danceteria and they wouldn't want to let him in because they thought he was a cop. The person at the door would say to Bob, "You look like his truant officer." Oh, if they only knew...

IRT: What inspired you to cover the Nuns? Did you ever play with them on a bill back in the day?
This was a 7" I have owned since it came out in '79. I always thought it was an amazing record, the production, the song, stark minimalism, everything. When I was recording the album it came to me that I had to record 'The Beat'. It worked out and fits as a nice stride. Since The Nuns were together I have come to know Alejandro but I never saw them play because I was out of town a lot then.

IRT: What about Lucinda Williams? What is your favorite attribute of hers as a songwriter and prompted you to cover her song "Broken Butterflies"?
Her honesty. She convinces you that what she is singing is real and has or will happen. She scares me and I like that in a writer... not in a lover. And as usual as with any good songwriter, her phrasing... the cadence.

IRT: How did you feel working on The Naked Flame in the middle of the night affected its turnout?
Though it made me more of a Zombie in the daytime, I believe overall it was a healthy thing. Why? Because it had to be disciplined. I had a finite amount of time to work between dusk and dawn so I could run back to my cave before the sun got too high in the sky. There I could recharge to be able do it again the next night. Also, there were no distractions, nowhere else I had to be and nothing else to take care of... only the record. I could listen to what was being channeled, not just what I was playing. I wouldn't recommend the nocturnal thing for everyone but I couldn't have gotten it finished any other way.

IRT: How did you come about putting together the band you hired for The Naked Flame?
They kinda hired me in a way. A band named 'Capsula' from Bilbao, Spain came to my studio and wanted me to mix their record,'Rising Mountains'. I immediately liked their songs and their approach to the mixture of rhythm and noise. While we were working they suggested that I make a solo record and do a tour in Spain. I was a bit reluctant because I had just done the Osaka Popstar tour and I was looking forward to producing bands in my studio. Nonetheless, after they went back to Spain I sent them demos of some songs which they re-recorded and sent back to me. I thought, "Wow this is exciting; They get it." So began the process of me sending them songs via the web and them sending me back amazing basic tracks, (guitar, bass and drums) for me to complete. The final basics used for the record were sent via the post and everything was done on 24 track tape.

IRT: Has there ever been talk of reissuing The Outsets catalog? Where does that music stand with you today? How about the Lovelies? Has there been any talk of resurrecting Mad Orphan?
Some of it was available online for a while but no one has approached me about re-releasing it. I haven't listened to a lot of those recordings in a while so I don't know... I can't resurrect those bands because so many of those people that were involved are gone now, especially Danny Hirsch.

IRT: Tell me about the first time you ever
heard hip-hop music.
It was the same as today when I hear any kind of new, exciting music that comes at you outta nowhere. The first time I heard Run DMC's "It's Like That" it blew my mind. Then came Public Enemy and they raised the bar to new level that no one has reached since. Especially with It Takes a Nation of Millions... and Fear of a Black Planet which is an ultimate masterpiece. A volcanic cauldron of everything; The Last Poets, stripped down James Brown, early Stones, you name it. Like a galloping horse it doesn't let you jump off once it starts. I think the Shocklee brothers, Chuck D. and Flavor Flav (who played a lot of the instruments on the record) are all geniuses and I seldom use that word.

IRT: What was your favorite club to play in in New York City during the 70s and 80s and if you could please share a favorite story from that venue?
CBGB's had the best sound and the best sound system for the room. Probably because of all the wood in there and the way the place was shaped. There are too many stories from CB's to fit here. Mainly because you were there almost every night. It was the 'local' and the great thing about it was that you could see other bands in the scene play on any given night of the week, Tuesday- Talking Heads, Wednesday- The Ramones, Thursday- Blondie. Much like Robert Altman's Nashville, music was everywhere.

One night comes to mind when Sylvia Reed (before she married Lou) and I went to see Bo Diddley at Max's Kansas City. We went to the bar and when I looked up, there was Bo Diddley in the flesh standing right next to me. Now I'm not big collector of autographs but come on, it's Bo Diddley. I didn't have any paper and I thought he deserved more than a napkin so I pulled a fiver out of my pocket and got a pen from the bartender. When I asked him to sign the bill he said and I quote, "Give me your woman and I'll sign it." I said, "I can't really give her to you Mr. Diddley, because I didn't buy her." This went back and forth for a while and eventually he reluctantly signed it. He was hilarious!

IRT: How did you get involved with working on Sandinista! with The Clash? What do you believe is the most lasting affect of that album which continues to make it such an influential touchstone for so many young artists? Also, were you at Bond's for their residency?
I knew Topper from my days in London before I moved to New York and The Clash had the The Voidoids open for them on the Give 'em Enough Rope tour. It was Mick that turned me on to Reggae, I mean real Reggae and Dub. Not the watered down stuff that we were getting in America but Raw Sounding 7" singles by bands like Elizabeth Archer and the Equators. Mick and Joe were really into Dub as it shows on Sandinista. Initially I just stopped by Electric Lady to say hello. It wasn't long before I had Joe's Tele in hand banging out the chords to "The Call Up". I believe the lasting affect of this record is a right of passage. If you love music and you listen to what has come before, every once you come across a record and say to yourself stop, what's this? Sandanista! is one of those records.

No, we didn't play the Bond's thing. It was difficult to cut through the red tape of all the booking agents clamoring for a spot. Later when Joe found out about it he was really pissed because the idea was to have their friends play while they were there.

IRT: Please tell me a good story about your time with Matthew Sweet. Looking back, the lineup for the Girlfriend album was filled with such great players: yourself, Quine, Richard Lloyd, Lloyd Cole, Fred Maher...what was it like in the studio with such a prolific lineup?
Lloyd and I were the tag team on the road but in the studio him Quine and I were never there all at once. It's as if Matthew could only deal with one crazy person at a time.

IRT: What is your favorite memory of making the movie Blank Generation? Ivan: I can sum it up in two words: Carole Bouquet. I can still remember her standing in CBGB's during the shoot. Pure pulchritude in the mist of rotting wood and graffiti... Lovely. Bob and I were a bit annoyed about having to be in the movie because we were in the middle of recording and considered it a distraction. Her being there made it not so bad. It's a good thing that Richard persuaded us to do it because it's the only real footage of the original Voidoids on stage.

IRT: Now that is available on DVD, how do you feel it holds up in 2011? Ivan: It holds up as much as it did then which isn't much. The director, Ulli Lommel re-wrote the script to cast himself as Carole's love interest. As a movie it makes very little sense. Instead of saying action when the camera started rolling it seems as if Ulli said tension because that's all we feel from the people on the screen.

IRT: Are you still in touch with Richard Hell? Has there been talk about doing any kind of deluxe edition of Blank Generation the album?
Yes Richard and I are still in touch. There already have been several of what you could call deluxe versions of Blank.

IRT: Have you guys ever talked about working together again? Ivan: Richard has no interest in making music, he's more into his writing.

IRT: Are you in touch with Marky Ramone? Have you tried his sauce yet? Did he ever cook for you guys back in the Voidoid days?
We did a tour together a couple of years ago supporting an album we did called Osaka Popstar with Jerry Only from The Misfits and Dez from Black Flag, both of which were supreme gentlemen, real spot-on guys. Re the sauce: None of us were ever brave enough to try Marky's Sauce back in the Voidoid days and anyway the furthest thing from his mind then was cooking...

Are you shocked to learn he has his own jarred sauce out? I hear its actually quite good! Ivan: I'm not shocked. Marky has always loved fine food and he loves selling things.

IRT: What is your favorite aspect of running your own studio? At the end of the day, what to you prefer: analog or digital?
I have always been in love with the whole recording process and how at each stage of development right up to mastering new possibilities present themselves and the song evolves into what it can be. There is nothing like TAPE, period. Especially for drums which are usually the loudest things in the mix. I usually record everything to tape and then dump it to pro tools to mix because it's so much faster. Even then, I use outboard compressors, spring reverbs etc. I build tube compressors called 'The Lumpstar'. I find it relaxing.

IRT: When you first settled in NYC in 1977, what was your first adventure in the city?
The Voidoids audition a month after I got here~ in the course of three hours there was vomiting, vodka, nodding out, two six foot girls getting into a cat fight with hair and fishnet stockings going everywhere, more nodding out... Welcome to New York City!

IRT: How do you feel about how much the neighborhood is changing around N.Y. HED? Has it made operating out of that section difficult for you guys? What are your thoughts about the closures of such established venues as Max Fish and the Mars Bar in recent months?
Ivan: This is a rumor; Max Fish is still open but you're right about it being difficult. We had to move the studio four doors down Ludlow St. back in the fall. This came in the middle of the Fleshtones sessions for The Brooklyn Project. We're now under The Pink Pony restaurant. The developers seem hellbent on changing the L.E.S. landscape into a myriad of glass and aluminum structures. Maybe they have some prophetic vision that when 'the big one' hits it will make it easier to sweep it all away and rebuild. If they have their way soon the L.E.S. will resemble some mid-western suburb which is what many of us moved here to get away from. Oh Well.. I'm just a rhyme sayer..

IRT: What are some upcoming albums we could look forward to that were recorded out of NY HED? Do you have a particular favorite album that came out of your studio? What would it be and why?
I'm very excited about a band I produced called Hunx and his Punx from San Francisco. Their record, 'Too Young to be In Love' is out now and I'm very pleased with the results. Listen and you'll see what I mean. There's also the band Sediment Club that has an Lp that will be coming out soon. They sound like a mixture of The Voidoids meets The Bush Tetras meets The Contortions. Amazing stuff!

IRT: Do you have a favorite current spot to see music or hang out at in the LES?
Jessie Malin's place, The Bowery Electric, it's not too big, not too small and as long as Tim is behind the board it will be a perfect sounding room as well.

"The Naked Flame" video:

"Blank Generation" live from the film Blank Generation:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

GIL SCOTT-HERON Live At The Village Gate 1976

Head on over to Big O Zine and nab yourself an excellent FM broadcast of the late, great Gil Scott-Heron with longtime cohort Brian Jackson and their Midnight Band at the legendary Village Gate in New York City (now known as the Poisson Rouge) back in 1976.

Mr. Heron left this planet on May 27, 2011 after falling ill following a return from a trip to Europe. His contributions to poetry, spoken word, jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop are as deep as that incredible voice of his, and he will truly be missed by so many of us who were inspired by his words.

"RIP GSH… and we do what we do and how we do because of you. And to those that don’t know tip your hat with a hand over your heart & recognize… Quite stunned at the fact I just wrote and recorded guest vocals on one of his next albums. This makes one realize that time is precious, damn." Chuck D.

"New York City, It's Your World"