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TV Party Tonight! Part Ten: Bands I've Gotten Mail From - by Ricki C.

It's a pretty simple concept: back in the day, at the dawn of time, say 1974 or so, when KISS had barely been invented, and Colin was 5 years old, I was sending away for 45 rpm punk singles through the mail.  (iPhone kids, ask your parents what 45 rpm singles were; ask your grandparents what "mail" was.)  The first one I sent away for was Patti Smith's "Hey Joe" b/w "Piss Factory."  The second was Boston rock & roll genius Willie "Loco" Alexander's "Kerouac" b/w "Mass Ave."  When I got it, at my second apartment ever, back in the old Lincoln Park West Apartments - that complex right across from the Hollywood Casino that I believe set a city record for most police runs last year - it contained this note from Alexander.......

I couldn't find a decent-sounding version of that indie single b-side on YouTube, this is the later LP version, when Alexander signed to MCA Records.  It's not quite as good, but it's still rockin', and kicks anything from Grouplove's ass......

Okay, let's shift coasts now, to maintain chronology, but we'll get back to Boston later.  I sent away for The Pop!'s first single "Hit & Run Lover" b/w "Break The Chain" in 1976 or so, when I was running Teenage Rampage - my Columbus punk fanzine - and corresponding with the staff of Back Door Man magazine (who taught me everything I needed to know about DIY publishing) out in Torrance, California (the mean streets/working class 'hood of L.A., definitely NOT Malibu).  Here's a letter The Pop! guys sent me one year, and a tune of theirs from when they were part of the 1979 post-Knack "My Sharona was a big hit!  Sign up any power-pop band you can find in L.A!." major-label signing frenzy.......  

By time 1977 rolled around I had already spent my hard-earned, workin'-in-the-Service-Merchandise warehouse money on tickets to a Styx/Ted Nugent double-bill at Vet's Memorial and a KISS debacle at St. John's Arena on the OSU campus, because my A-1 punk/hardrock heroes The Dictators were supposed to OPEN both those shows, but managed to get themselves booted off both tours due to "musical differences" or "attitude adjustment" problems.  That brought about this postcard from Dics founder/leader/songwriter Adny Shernoff.......

(by the way, this Dictators video features some of the WORST camera work I've ever witnessed by a professional camera crew, as they seem to search vainly for WHO in the band is singing lead at any given moment.  I guess those hippie audio/visual stoners out in San Franscisco didn't know how to shoot anybody but hopelessly sedentary Grateful Dead-style bands.)

(plus whoever filmed seemed overly fond of showcasing rhythm guitarist Scott "Top Ten" Kempner's ass) 

Okay, back to Boston: The Atlantics were a classy new wave/power pop band who I first started reading about in Bomp! and The New Rocker in 1976 or so.  They always wore suits onstage, they always had cool haircuts, they knew how to tune & play their instruments, and they wanted to be rock & roll stars, as opposed to punk-rock rumors.  (The musical fame dicotomy that later saw Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain blow his brains out.)  They lasted into the early 80's, battering their heads against all the usual music biz walls: endless club gigs that finally led to being signed to a major label - ABC Records - in 1979 (that same power-pop boomlet that swept up The Pop! and The Plimsouls out in L.A.), only to watch their major label debut - Big City Rock - sink without a trace when ABC Records folded within weeks of its release.  I was a roadie for Columbus' The Buttons at that time (see The Buttons Opened For Judas Priest), wrote to The Atlantics to commiserate about our power-pop troubles 'n' woes and got this postcard back from them.......      

 

BONUS PREVIEW VIDEO

I started listening to Elliott Murphy in 1973.  In 1989 he emigrated from New York to Paris.  In 1992 I was lucky enough to meet him at a show at the Bottom Line in New York City when he played there during a visit back to his Long Island hometown.  (I took a Greyhound Bus to that show, a trip I wrote about at length in my old blog - How I Spent My Summer Vacation - if you'd care to read more.)  Anyway, we've corresponded ever since - first by postcard & letter, now via e-mail - and when I got this postcard from him in January, it gave me the idea to ask if we could conduct a trans-Atlantic / Paris-to-Columbus interview for Pencilstorm.  That interview will run this coming Thursday, March 16th: Elliott's birthday, by the way.  Here's a little bonus video to preview that piece.......

ELLIOTT MURPHY / "Continental Kinda Girl" / 1984