Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Generation X - Generation X

Those who know me well, know that Billy Idol is my homeboy. I have been mad about Billy since I was about 12. As I mentioned in my last post, I was accused of being a "poseur" at times, and my loyalty to Billy did nothing to simmer my accusers down.

I guess in grade 7 Billy Idol had already hit the airwaves with Rebel Yell, that was my first introduction to him. He certainly grabbed my attention away from the soft sounds of Culture Club and raised my eyebrow and piqued my curiosity. Without the web, and living in a small town, there was no way for me to discover that Billy had been the lead singer of a punk band called Generation X. It took me until grade 9, and a chance discussion with someone much cooler than I, to discover that there was more to William Broad (his real name) than White Weddings.

With babysitting money in hand, off I went to the record store and picked up Generation X's self-titled album. It was a life-changing album. It was the kind of album that evoked every imagineable emotion in me. One song would have me bouncing off the walls with sheer joy (Ready Steady Go) while another would have me pining for a punk rocker prince to wisk me away from my boring life (Kiss Me Deadly). This was my first foray into Brit Punk, I bought this album even before my first Sex Pistols album.

I went to see Billy Idol here in Ottawa two years ago. He was opening for Def Leppard. He was a lean, mean, singing machine. The man is sex. In his fifties now, he put the boys in Def Leppard to shame with his stamina. He had the ladies swooning and the audience was adoring. The crowd grew a little quieter when he started singing Ready Steady Go. I did not go quiet. I hopped up and down, first pumped the air and, swear to god, Billy and I locked eyes for a moment. He was pretty much singing to me.

These days, this album is my go-to album when I need some motivation to clean my house. It seems odd to be picking up Polly Pocket bits and and Lego pieces to the sounds of Generation X, but it gets the job done. Except when Kiss Me Deadly comes on. That song still stops me in my tracks.

Side A
Gimme Stome Truth
From the Heart
Ready Steady Go
Promises Promises

Side B
Day by Day
One Hundred Punks
Your Generation
Kiss Me Deadly
Wild Dub
Youth Youth Youth

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Singing the blues while the lady cats cry…..

Yes! One of my favourite albums of all time, Stray Cats - Built for Speed. Let me just tell you, this album does not collect dust, it is one of my all time favourite albums. I bought it when I was going through my rockabilly phase – I was kinda gender confused at the time though, favouring the look of nicely done D.A.*, cuffed jeans, faux converse and white t-shirt over what a traditional rockabilly girl might look like (had I had access to the Web, I might have known what a rockabilly chick should like and attempted to mirror that image instead!)

This album would have been bought when I was about 14 years old. I bought it at a second hand record store on Rideau Street, downtown Ottawa, and fully admit to buying it because I thought the boys in the band were cute. So infatuated with the Stray Cats was I, that when Sam Taylor on CBC’s Video Hits played the Rock this Town video, I recorded the video on our family VHS, paused it when there was a close-up of the drum set, and set to work drawing the best damn cat on my jean jacket. I created this work of art with red and black jiffy markers and some liquid paper. I cut off the sleeves of the jacket, threw it on over a white t-shirt (sleeves rolled up of course), turned up the collar and I looked awesome – kinda like a pretty boy. The jean jacket disappeared, I suspect because it was so awesome someone else wanted to have it for them self. I still think about that jacket and miss it. It’s one of those things that I wish I could pass down to my girls.

When I was a teenager, I was called a poseur more than once. I tended to adopt the look of the music I into at the time. I’ve had my mod periods, punk rock periods, hippie periods (that wasn’t pretty) and even a little grunge. It hurt my feelings at the time; I didn’t really understand why I had to stick to one look. I have to say though, the rockabilly phase was the most fun phase I went through. I still love the music for it’s ability to make me want to dance, tap my toes, play an imaginary bass. I still love the fashion, the tattoos, and yes, I still have a weakness for a man with some good grease in his hair.

The moment I discovered the Stray Cats, I developed a love for rockabilly music. I guess I worked my way backwards, starting with the Stray Cats, then moving back in time to discover Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochrane, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, etc etc.
I have never seen the Stray Cats in concert, but did see the Brian Setzer Orchestra at Bluesfest last year and did they ever put on a show. I think I smiled the whole time and wore a hole in my boot with all my toe tapping.

Honestly, just try not bopping on the big dance floor…..

*oh, and

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Dead Kennedys - Too Drunk to Fuck

I admit I was a little young bringing this one home. Likely not really understanding the title all that well (what can I say, I'm a romantic). I was 13 years old and in a full blown rebellion. I was experimenting with punk rock (read: copying images on British postcards of punk rockers that I had seen). I was hanging out with the punk/alternative/misfit crowd at our cow pattie high school and being exposed to all kinds of music. My thirteen year old heart was with Billy Idol (he'll pop up in the collection later) but the part of me that wanted to be badass and rebellious was drooling over this album. I don't think I bought it, I think someone had given it to me. I brought it upstairs to my bedroom and took a listen and it....sucked. I didn't like it. I think I even played it on the wrong rpm....sometimes it's hard to tell with Jello Biafra. But, the title titillated, I wanted to like it, so I kept playing it.

I guess my dad walked by my room at one point and paused long enough to hear the lyrics. A note on my dad: He was always pretty cool with whatever look I was experimenting with. He talked my mom down a few times when she she was freaking out about who I was hanging out with and what I was wearing. He was patient and seemed to understand he was living with a teen who was just figuring things out. One thing he couldn't tolerate though was obcenities, or anything that appeared to degrade or disrespect. So, the idea of his daughter listening to something called Too Drunk to Fuck did not go over well. It was the first full on fight we ever had, he confiscated the album and I was outraged. Even at the tender age of thirteen I realized that this fight put my dad and I at a crossroads and he wouldn't necessarily support me anymore. I felt that pull to be a "good kid", it was exhausting being rebellious and surly all the time. Unfortunately, I chose to kick up my heels for a few more years.

The album eventually made it back to my collection. I don't listen to it, and when I come across it I get a sick little feeling in my stomach thinking about that fight. But, it is a reminder of who I was, and when my girls hit thirteen, driving me batshit crazy, I will think of my own rebellion and the respect my dad showed me when I was going through it.

Dead Kennedys 12" single

A side:
Too Drunk to Fuck

B side:
The Prey

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Jimi Hendrix Concerts

I can't exactly remember when I purchased this record, but I do remember hearing Red House and Hey Joe live on this album and thinking that I couldn't get any closer to music than these two songs brought me. It's almost frustrating to close your eyes and listen to some of this music because it feels unattainable somehow - does that make sense? This is the kind of music you can feel from your toes to your fingertips. It's funny, I wouldn't consider myself a huge Jimmy Hendrix fan now, and certainly not the kind of music I normally bought when I was a teenager, but this double album is epic.

Side One:

I Don't Live Today
Red House

Side Two:
Stone Free
Are You Experienced

Side Three:
Little Wing
Voodoo Chile
Bleeding Heart

Side Four:
Hey Joe
Wild Thing
hear My Train A Comin'

The Collection

Okay, so I'm 37 years old, and have been buying vinyl since I was about 12 years old. I have never organized my collection and thought it would be a pretty cool project to document each piece of vinyl with a little anecdote for each one (if I can remember!)
I don't discriminate musically, I love passionately and hate passionately (you will not find Nickelback in my record collection).
I will pick records at random, I can't promise daily updates, but hopefully it will be done a regular basis.
If you see anything missing, or want additional information on anything, feel free to leave a comment!

Without further ado, put another dime in the jukebox baby......