Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Ed Davis Band OR ELSE!

     I don’t recall exactly how I stumbled across the Mike Enright site talking about the history of The Ed Davis Band (TEDB) including the We’re Just Like You (WJLY) Loft footage from YOU-TUBE that, all of a sudden, began to root itself in my brain and inspire me... But the how isn’t important. What was important was that the first exposure I had of TEDB, on some '77 revivalist compilation that I cant find, and that song stuck with me all this time so when the current slew of TEDB stuff began to surface, and my latest phase of life (whatever you want to call it) worked itself out, my enthusiasm for music- punk-rock music (with the dash), had returned in earnest.

     I not only became inspired from what I read on Mike Enrights site (there is a link below) not only about TEDB, but all the talk about the We're Just Like You media collective and all their various projects, but the evolution and focus change to NYC and the band that TEDB would become, DESI DESI DESI. I began to crave them too…

Needless to day, I was verily interested. Verily indeed.

    So inspiration leads to creation... As the idea for THWART was finally being enacted after much personal deliberation, and I feel comfortable enough to say that Mike Enrights site and as I would discover, a re-issue of TEDBs debut 7" onto LP with added, unreleased tracks from Rave Up Records, inspired me to once again enter the fray of whatever it is you call what I do. But really, it isn’t just blogging is it? Blogging is one of those terms. A lame term. Like ‘mash-up’. I don’t feel comfortable referring to something, and using the term mash-up, but I used it and I felt dirty afterwards. ‘Blogging’, sounds like a nautical term sailors would use. Sounds plain boring that way. Whatever I do with THWART, please god, don’t let it be blogging. Let it be anything but…

     I had just finished posting OPERATION: NIGHT BIRD on THWART when I decided that I deffy needed that TEDB LP. Not wanted, but needed.

     So I turn to the natural resource known as SHAKE IT RECORDS for my needs. Its hard to think of a time before Shake It, and to be honest, a trip down that lane of Cincinnati before SHAKE IT RECORDS is not needed right now. It’s not exactly a tale of dread; Cincinnati has always had decent record stores but nothing that really struck out as a regional powerhouse like SHAKE IT has. It’s more like a tale of constant ups and downs. A tale of inconsistency.

     I get dressed. Its been verily hot in Cincinnati here of late and usually I will stay stripped to the bare minimum when not in public (underwear, gunnie towel with T-shirt optional), but if I was to be heading to SHAKE IT, I would need to be dressed... I have to try, and going to retrieve this record while in underwear (with or without a T-Shirt) just wouldn’t be trying. I had enough of this bullshit trying, if I was going to do this, whatever this exactly was (cause I wasn’t even too sure, not even sure as I write this), I was going to have to learn to try again. I had to care. I had to be enthusiastic. I had to put some pants on, put a fucking shirt on and maybe even lace up some boots… Put my designer Idi Amin shirt on; mayhap throw a stud band on and make to trip. First, I would have to make the call… to insure product availability. So, with vigor, I dress and make the call...

I memorized the phone number. Don’t you have your favorite record stores phone numbers memorized?



It isn’t so!

     A representative from the store shared news that they didn’t have TEDB LP! Didn’t even offer to order me one! (double gasp!) So, reluctantly, I took off my pants and stripped back down to my pre-trip outfit, wiped the newest sweat-beads off with my trusted gunnie towel and ordered the record from the standby... The Internet.

     That infernal beast. One of mankind’s most beneficial and dreadful things it has ever created. Verily so, a double-edged sword with no handle.

     That evening I sipped on some Labatt Blue while I watched the inspiring TEDB You Tube video again just for good measure. That video (see below) was right up my alley. Imperfect. Fragile. Raw and tufff (not just tough, but tuff- with three f’s). I had watched it several times before this moment and would watch it several more times in the waiting time period until the record would arrive. I remember the jam “Keith Richards’ is Dead” being good from that punk re-issue, and the B-Side would make its way to me also soon thereafter, it was mighty fine too, but on this video, the band and jam was incredibly lethal. It had a criminal element about it. It almost sounded illegal to be listening to (hey, is that a helicopter hovering just outside my window, strange) “Richards is Dead” was played with gusto, and angst. Slightly sped up, there seem to be an element of danger to the tempo, like I said, criminal. I bet each band member had at least a 5” switchblade in their jean pockets. This was Cincinnati in the 70’s? This was the punk heritage of my cities scene? Truly inspiring. Watching the video made the waiting for the LP only seem to increase.

     But that’s OK. Nothing easy is worth anything. The more I had to endure, the sweeter the reward. Right? The harder it is to do something, the more that the powers fight against you to get even the smallest of rewards, only makes success tastier. Right?

Well, I would like to think so.

And also, I see The War of Angles has found me on Thwart. That didn’t take so long…

     Over the next week while I waited for the LP to arrive eyewitness reports would find their way to me that SHAKE IT RECORDS did, in fact, have the LP. Ugh. I was told by two different patrons where to find it- hanging on the walls next to blah blah blah. Verily accurate directions. It was just overlooked when I called. Thought maybe out-of stock even, but no. Instantly I felt stupid, lazy and a betrayer of my own ideals and morals.

     The following Saturday afternoon, the record arrived just in time for the recording of an installment of FUNCTIONAL INCONVENIENCE (FI), a ‘radio-like’ program piloted and subsequently wrecked by Andy Breightone and myself. We would listen to the record in its entirety before doing the show and end up playing two tracks from the record during the show. Exactly per my plan.

     First impressions were verily pleasing… While Andy got everything together for FI, I chipped in to help the industrious P39 with a large order of magnets. I let Andy decide if the records shrink-wrap stayed on, or came off.

He chose to leave it on.

     We listened… We recorded the installment of FI, including two different TEDB jams in the show, then I would take the record home and ‘tate it in the baking privacy of my own home. Sitting in just my underwear, sweating profusely, while drinking Hudepohl Amber Lager wiping myself off every so often while absorbing everything this LP had to offer.

     Side one starts off with “Keith Richards is Dead” the A-side from their original 45-rpm. The ‘hit’. The mastering of this record really brought out the punch of this song. I heard an mp3 of this, and the B-side “Asshole” countless times. But on this LP, “Keith Richards” sounds fresh. It sounded new, and exciting. Could it have been that that weeklong wait making the sounds and all the expectation that much sweeter? Yeah, it could be that dammed waiting period. I admit that… It’s a distinct possibility. On “Keith Richards” you are exposed to the first TEDB ‘reference’ in one of their songs. Right there, in the middle, out of no where is a measure of “The Last Time” by The Rolling Stones no doubt referencing the songs message telling of repetitive hoaxes advocating Keith Richards’ death (maybe that’s what’s keeping him alive). I remember hearing about Keith Richards’ death at least three times (two actual, one more ‘bonus’ for good measure). This referencing would appear again in other songs, like on the dark and doomish 1st B-Side appearance of  “Last Year At Surf City” (another Live version wraps up the record at the end), and during the absolutely creepy homosexual call to action “Take Out Your Pistols Faggots”. This referencing is interesting to say the least. Right there, in the meaty-ness of the song- BAM! You are reminded by a Lil’ quick reference to another song, and its feeling, and its mood and its message.

     From there, the LP starts a run with the sneering “Lets Fuck Each Other” followed by “95 Amplified” and “Dead Stars” (hmm talking about the energy crisis? We have not progressed as a ‘people’ people!) exhibiting the bands sound at its best. Kinda bringing to mind a more jangly art rock version of Australia’s The Chosen Few, because these songs are gritty. They’re dirty. They’re real and explosive. Sounding loose and brittle at times but energized and elevated to the next level by the mock of the songs final delivery. These songs make me feel mischievous, they make me want to go out and tip over trash cans and drive through peoples yards, like when I was a teenager. As it states on the LP jacket, this band was steeped in Pere Ubu, Patti Smith group and MX-80 Sound. We all have to start somewhere, and that’s a cool place to start.

     I’m not new to Rave Up Records and all they have to offer. I was a fan pretty early on. This LP is number 61 in their Lost Punk Nuggets Series. I have some of those records somewhere that go back to single digits… To me, they have been known for having stronger A-Sides than B-Sides. That also seems to be the case with this LP, but as far as the LP goes as a whole, I’m not unpleased with it compared to some of the other volumes I have gotten. This record is deffy a keeper.

     Side B opens with the scathing original B-Side “Asshole” showing the teeth of this band just before your left with a bite that will be inevitably become infected and fester. This song completes what most people have heard from this band, including me, until now. It saunters on with another version, a live version this time, of “Keith Richards” from the WJLY loft (which is the audio of the You Tube footage that I fell in love with). Great version of the song. I must interject here. I have witness first hand, a capacity crowd at Sudsy Malone’s during my time in a gigging band; about 350 people, during a Forget Cassettes show. It was hard getting that place that full. I don’t find it unbelievable that the WJLY Collective could consistently pack 300-500 people into their parties. I do not doubt the validity of that number. I’m just wanting to see numbers like that again at more spots, especially parties. And to do that, I’m personally going to have to take it upon myself to get my pants on, get a Idi Amin designer shirt on. Lace up the boots. Throw on a stud brace (or two) and instead of making a call, just GO and DO IT.

Myself. Set an example.

     The B-Side is populated with interesting gems; including “I Still Hate the Nuns” is a latter era TEDB jam featuring fem vox from Fran Slater. Described as girl group pop on Mike Enrights sight, and not liked by much. This track is deffy a turn of direction for the band into a new realm, but one also that deserves attention. With the verily art-rock “Kill the Dogs” that I’m sure presses the boundaries of what most would call listenable, but it deffy shows a reflection of what the band is. Before all of this new found info on TEDB, including Mike Enrights website, I was under the impression that TEDB was a rock group that maybe, sounded a bit punk and found a place with that label. After learning more I see that TEDB were punk rock art pioneers, plotting a course through uncharted territories without templates and a solid piece of ground to stand on. TEDB is not average. They aren’t a bar-rock band that just so happens to find a home within punk-rocks definitions. TEDB are a unit that struck out on their own accord and did what they wanted, how they wanted. If you liked it, good. If you hated it, then even better! That meant they were really doing their job! Its bands like TEDB, THE CUSTOMS and all of the soon to be Hospital Records stuff that charted the way for bands in the 90’s, who ended up being part of something that would and could and did make the next generations scene better. Without a basic foundation, any movement or group is doom, and TEDB was part of Cincinnati’s musical foundations. Punk-rock (with the dash) or otherwise.

     So TEDB eventually became Desi Desi Desi. Just like you, I’m given a brief example of that here on this LP. A morsel…

Desi Desi Desi… Hmmm. OK! I’m ready for that now.

The wait has began, and you know what a wait can do…


Visit Mike Enrights Site HERE

Become inspired. Get dressed. Do something.

Download an episode of FUNCTIONAL INCONVENIENCE (if you are brave enough) HERE