We have been working on this one for a bit and are excited to share an all-Peter Laughner episode of The Western Reserve! In addition to an interview with Susan Schmidt-Horning (Poor Girls, Cinderella Backstreet, Chi Pig), we talk with Andrew Russ from right here in Athens about his involvement in the project, research, and all things Peter Laughner. We highlight some great music from throughout Peter’s career (1972-1977 here) found on the new collection including recordings, live shows, and demos all from Peter solo and a wide range of other projects including Rocket From The Tombs, Cinderella Backstreet, Friction, and more. Original songs from Laughner join covers from Michael Hurley, The Velvet Underground, and Television. Go check out that box set and all of the awesome stuff Smog Veil Records makes right now, special thanks to Smog Veil, Fly PR, and our guests for making this episode happen. This episode is a little longer! Enjoy!
The Original Wolverines – “The Sidewalks of New York” Friction – “Prove It” Peter Laughner + Deborah Smith – “Down at the Bar” Cinderella Backstreet – “Rock and Roll” Peter Laughner + Adele Bertei – “Rock It Down” Peter Laughner + Mike Sands – “Eyes Eyes” Rocket From The Tombs – “Ain’t It Fun” Peter Laughner – “First Taste of Heartache” Fins – “What Goes On”
It always feels like it’s been too long since we posted a new episode of The Western Reserve, so please enjoy Episode 8! Just under an hour of music from all around Ohio, no themes or gimmicks this episode. Music from everyone from Gaunt to the The New Vinton County Frogwhompers Marching, Singing, Srumming, and Plucking Society and Lo-Pan make appearances. Hope ya like it.
Party of Helicopters – “Reduced to Rubble”
The Crooked Spines- “City of Lights”
WV White – “Brain Left Town”
Counterfeit Madison – “Bartlett’s (live from Mug and Brush)”
Six Parts Seven – “Stolen Moments”
DANA – “Bight”
Lo-Pan – “Go West”
Vacation – “Prison Guard”
Vinton County Frogwhompers – “Good Old Mountain Dew”
Rocket From The Tombs – “Never Gonna Kill Myself Again”
The 1984 Draft – “Scarlet and Cream”
Gaunt – “Silly Watches”
Us, Today – “Long Since Forgotten”
Big awesome show at The Union this Saturday, October 13. Cleveland legends Rocket From the Tombs will be joined by two of Ohio’s finest bands around: Obnox (featuring Lamont Thomas of This Moment in Black History,Bassholes) and The County Pharoahs (Chris Biester of Appalachian Death Ride, Scott Winland and Brandon Robinson of Dropdead Sons). Don’t miss this one. Tickets are available in advance at Haffa’s or at the door tomorrow night. Music starts at 10pm, don’t be late.
From the press release:
“The legendary Rocket From The Tombs, born in 1974, flamed out in 1975, have finally recorded a studio album, delivering “Barfly,” and closing the circle on an incredible journey.
The received wisdom (at least in America) goes that punk rock was invented in New York by the Ramones who reconfigured midwestern hard groove rock and 60s garage singles into a formula that defined punk: short, fast, catchy, and unstoppable. But in some weird parallel universe, punk might have traced its roots to Rocket From The Tombs, a Cleveland band that lasted less than eight months and never made a studio recording.
Three things went wrong for Rocket From The Tombs: a level of drug and alcohol abuse to worry even Keith Richard; a band volatility that rivaled that of The Troggs; and a turnover of drummers that would’ve flummoxed Spinal Tap.
One thing went right: in those eight months they wrote songs that would become punk anthems: “Ain’t It Fun,” “Sonic Reducer,” “Final Solution,” “So Cold,” “What Love Is,” “30 Seconds Over Tokyo,” “Amphetamine.” And they played them like there was no tomorrow. There *was* no tomorrow. They’d used up tomorrow. The band blew apart in July 1975 after an apocalyptic soundcheck that scared the bejeebers out of headliners Television. One faction went on to create the avant-garage rock group Pere Ubu, the other punk stalwarts The Dead Boys.
That might have been the end of the Rocket story except that over the next 25 years a frantic international trading of bootlegs bestowed on the band a legendary status. An album of live and rehearsal tapes, “The Day The Earth Met The Rocket From The Tombs” (2002), led to a nervous reunion in 2003. The core of the band – David Thomas, Cheetah Chrome and Craig Bell – remained from the old days. They were joined by Television’s Richard Lloyd who replaced Peter Laughner (died 1977). Pere Ubu’s drummer Steve Mehlman was drafted.
The fire still burned. For good and bad. Two tours produced extreme, brutal concerts, but also plenty of late night dust-ups in the parking lots of cheap roadside motels.
“We got that bad attitude thing in our blood,” singer David Thomas said. “Can’t shake it. But at least we’re not young, loud and snotty anymore. We’ve moved on. Now we’re *old*, loud and snotty.”
Taking that attitude in the studio produced “Barfly,” an unreconstructed, unapologetic re-affirmation of the power and glory of guitar rock: guitar solos traded between two masters of the craft, an inventive rhythm section devoted to midwestern groove mania, and a singer who learned all there is to learn from channeling Rob Tyner and Don Van Vliet. “I will amblify you,” Thomas growls in the middle of the album’s fierce opening track “I Sell Soul.” And whatever that might mean… he means it.
The bitter irony of “Romeo & Juliet,” the Cleveland / Detroit nexus of “Sister Love Train” / “Love Train Express,” the manic-obsessive drive of “Maelstrom,” the Robert Calvert sci fi dystopian romance of “Butcherhouse 4,” and the Bukowski grunge of “Pretty” reflect the 70s revisionism that is at the heart of the album’s production.
“Barfly’ delivers a sound that’s not dated or restricted to any passing fad or marketing infatuation. These men are ugly, old, and have not mellowed in any conceivable way. They’ve devoted their lives to raging against the boundaries, and they have been willing to pay the price. “Barfly” dismisses the last 37 years as a waste of time. Cuts it away without a second thought. That, in itself, makes “Barfly” worth the wait.”
The Union Bar and Grill is putting together a great slate of Fall shows with many more to come I am sure. Head on over to their Facebook page for all the details and updates but make sure to mark your calendars for some great shows.
Some of Ohio’s finest will grace The Union’s upstairs stage: legendary Cleveland act Rocket from the Tombs (10/13), Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery’s R.Ring (9/1), and Athens’ own Skeletonwitch (9/14)all have dates lined up. And Athens even gets a visit from Mike Watt himself on October 22. And even appearances from some more great Ohio bands like Eye, Wheels On Fire, The Kyle Sowashes, Hex Net, The D-Rays, Weird Science, and many more round out the next few months. More shows to be added I’m sure and advance tickets for some shows are available at Haffa’s Records.
8/18 – Burning River Ramblers | Bright at Night
8/19 – John Paul Keith & The 1-4-5s | Hex Net | Weird Science (FREE) 8/24 – Melk | Warren Jackson Hearne (FREE)
8/30 – ACRN presents: The Kyle Sowashes | Vagrant Beat
9/1 – R.Ring | Hex Net | M.O.P.
9/4 – Deke Dickerson & The Ecco-Fonics | The D-Rays | The Heartlanders
9/14 – Skeletonwitch | Havok | Early Graves | Dune
9/9 – Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside
9/19 – Jaill | Fergus & Geronimo | Wheels On Fire
9/21 – White Mystery | Gardens
9/22 – Eye | Hosoi Bros. | Horseburner | Goodbye Goats
9/26 – Pink Reason | Weird Science
10/5-10/7 – FALLOUTFEST: Bob Log III | Cheap Time | Outer Minds | Chain & The Gang and more
10/13 – Rocket from the Tombs
10/22 – Mike Watt & Missingmen | The Makebelives