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So you wanna be a rock and roll star? How to have a hit

The only man who could ever reach Dusty Springfield, according to the Welsh songstress, was the son of a preacher man. Which tells you why she was a lesbian, as Howlin’ Whippet never sold her any offspring. However, he did put down the Wild Turkey to pen this though. Enjoy.

The Whippets Guide To Having A Chart Hit

Since my offspring are now that bit older, I’m at the stage where I am forced to listen to their music in the car. Prior to this, I could force feed them The Ramones, The Fall and Tom Waits till they were car sick. They are my kids. I own them. Continue reading

From the Vault – The Ramones

There are three types of people in the world; people who love The Ramones, people who haven’t heard the Ramones, and idiots. Here they are with ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’. Oh, and if you own a Ramones t-shirt and no Ramones albums, you will be first against the wall.

Whippet out – The Ramonas, Glasgow ABC2

Our intrepid punk preacher Howlin Whippet hits town in search of thrills and finds them in the form of the world’s only all-girl Ramones tribute band.

I still, to this day, find it amazing that people exist who don’t unconditionally love The Ramones.

They epitomise everything that’s good about music. 2 minute songs, great melodies, energy, stupidity, dumb lyrics, leather jackets and sneakers, ripped levis. What’s not to like? Continue reading

Detox with the Ramones

It’s quite fashionable to detox these days. We live in a toxic world, full of bacteria, viruses and poor people, where lurking round every corner is a potential deathtrap contained in a pork pie or a pint or something. Anyway, what you do to defeat these demons is detox. This means buying some stupidly expensive pills from Boots and taking them for a month whilst only eating leaves and drinking water – filtered, that is. You will feel a bit ill for three days, give up and then tell everyone how great you feel whilst existing on a diet of Mars Bars and lager.

The thing is, your body doesn’t really need cleansed. Your mind though….whoa Nelly! Think of the clagged up filter it must have. Especially the bit marked music. Yes, yes, you’ve tried to live a healthy musical life, but it doesn’t always work that way. There really are toxins everywhere. If I say ‘Snow Patrol’, chances are your brain starts playing one of their songs whether you want it to or not. Chances are if I say ‘Fireflies’ then you’ll be hearing the latest Yankee one-hit-wonder Owl City’s current song. Chances are if I say ‘N-Dubz’ you won’t know one of their tunes, but you’ll still want to punch the berk with the stupid hat. You get my meaning though.

Continue reading

Classic Ramones

A great suggestion from Vespertine. Here are the boys doing ‘The KKK Took My Baby Away’ (a Joey song about how right-wing bastard Johnny nicked his girlfriend. Honestly.)

The Friday 5 – Totally Bono; Annoying Things In Music

People, as Depeche Mode once so sagely noted, are people. Similarly unarguable are the merits of the Friday 5. ‘Ver 5’, as no-one calls it, can cover pretty much anything; it’s subject matters are as free range as Jamie Oliver’s dream chicken. Today we felt we’d go a bit Yellow Pages and prove sometimes we’re here only for the nasty things in life (there’s one for the teenagers.)

Life is full of minor irritations, things which are sent to try us and bloody well do. Great artists, bad artists; they are two cheeks of the same arse. And while you’ll take the quid pro quo that for every Tom Waits there must be a Bono, it doesn’t make it any easier to take when the pious Irish pixie is warbling on about whatever good cause has fluttered into his inbox this week. But it’s not just people; fashion, genres, album artwork….there is simply no end of the amount of things which can get right on your bell-end and set up camp. Here’s a few of ELM’s favourite hates;

Chipmunk Rap Vocals 
Fucking Akon. I know that beginning is neither big nor clever, but it’s deeply apt. He achieved, along with whichever bright spark decided mobile phones should have speakers – way to go, you Nokia bastards – the almost impossible feat of making chavs more annoying. MORE annoying! It’s like making cheese more cheesy. Whereas before gangs of feral youths could be iignored, now they rampage round city centres and public transport blasting out drippy rnb which sound as though they are being belted out by Alvin and his brothers. His song ‘Lonely’ is beyond novelty, and instead lapses into sheer undiluted hate crime. The man should be beaten to a bloody pulp with a 1980’s mobile phone. That’d teach him.

All American Punk since 1992
American Punk was actually a really rather interesting thing back in the day. How could it not be? Ramones & Television mutating into Black Flag and Húsker Dú before we got Sonic Youth and Nirvana? Sign me up. But then, in the post-grunge explosion, it got bought, re-packaged and sold in much more agreeable sizes. Suddenly, you had a raft of big-short wearing, mohawk spouting arsewits complaining about having to do chores and girls called Julie who wouldn’t dance with them. Wheatus, Bowling For Soup, Angels and Airwaves – utter shite. The very worst thing about them is that they look at the pop charts – which they are in – and cock a snooky sneer at their compatriots. Listen guys, you are Leona Lewis with guitars. You are very popular, but so was National Socialism and that didn’t make it right.

Brandon Flowers
 If Bono is a pudding – and he is – then his tiresome mini-me is even worse. Strange as it is to recall, but when the Killers first emerged they were great. Huge tunes, plenty of genuine emotion, 80’s synths….magic. And then they got famous and fame shot like a bullet to the head of the world’s most rocking Mormon and, much as a real bullet would have, killed him. In his place came this walking cock, all gold lame suits, bad moustaches, dodgy pretensions and irritatingly certain of his self-worth. Perhaps not coincedentally, the two albums since issued by his band have been utter bilge, half-baked U2-meets-Springsteen begging letters to play stadiums. A man in serious need of a good slap and a pint.

Top of the Pops not being on anymore
In a fair and just world, this simply wouldn’t have been allowed to happen. I KNOW nobody watched it at the end. I KNOW they employed Fearne Cotton, a woman so untalented she makes you think they might have the right idea with Guantanamo Bay, just the wrong people. It doesn’t matter. TOTP should always be there, a great British institution, another in the endless line of things we never use but are glad they are there. Things like that are what made Britain great. Now, back to Fearne Cotton. What’s the fucking point of that woman?

Booking Fees
Now, I’m being harsh here. Ticketmaster are absolutely correct to charge us for the privilege of actually selling us a ticket. Just surprised it hasn’t caught on anywhere else. Imagine going into Tesco and the check-out girl saying ‘it’ll be 49p for the soup and 20p for me agreeing to sell it to you. Oh, and if you want multiple tins, there will be a charge on each one’? Seriously, I do wish ugly children and severe and uncontrollable anal leakage on every single Ticketmaster executive. They are such utter cocksucking little Satans, sent to suck the simple joy of gig-going away from you. Why do we put up with this?

Well, we try to keep it positive round here, but occasionally we get overwhelmed by the boorish ineptitude surrounding the world and today was one such time. however, TFI folks, TFI. Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here next week. Let’s be careful out there….

The Friday 5 – 5 Failed Follow-Up Bands

Good day to you all, my fine friends. We are all buzzing here after seeing one of Glasgow’s finest bands, the mighty Fram , perform a surprise acoustic gig in the city last night. And that has been good for my mood, as ELM has not been very well this week. I know. It’s a sin for me. The Wookie, however, is in tremendous spirits after whizzing about Alton Towers like a kid fuelled by blue smarties and Quosh. But we are both happy to have reached Friday in one piece.

This week, as I have been ill and whiny (I’m a bloke) I’ve been thinking about the nasty things in life. And, while whizzing through some old albums to stick on my iPod, I kinda got to thinking about what happens to those guys who leave a successful band and how they follow it up. To borrow from TV, some go on to do a ‘Frasier’, some go on to do a ‘Joey’. But why? Who can tell why someone is going to soar to previously unexplored levels, while some will plumb depths only Gary Barlow can attest to ?

As usual, in ELM-land, we focus on the fuck-ups, the ones who promised much but delivered little and, as it is Friday, we’ll point and laugh as we go.

Wings – Of course, how do you follow up being in the band who utterly revolutionised pop music single-handedly? You can’t, it is a hiding to nothing. But possibly recruiting your missus when she can’t really play, moving to a farm and wilfully writing even when you have nothing to say might not be the best idea. Not everything Wings did is bad; McCartney is simply too talented for that. But with no-one to rein him in, the ideas flowed and made it onto tape time after time. And as for the haircuts…oh, Lord.

The Seahorses – When the Stone Roses split up, it was pretty much common consent that John Squire was the talent. Ian Brown couldn’t (still can’t) sing and as good musicians as the rhythm section were, they didn’t contribute too much to the songwriting side of things. So great things were expected of Squire’s post-Roses project. Except…well, by then the guitarist (by his own admission) was fairly heavily into the old charlie and that does not do good things to a man’s sense of judgement. Witness the excruciating amount of guitar wank on ‘The Second Coming’. He saw a busker he liked in York and, emm, asked him to join the band. No, really. The chap, Chris Helme, had a pleasing enough dadrock voice but was nothing special. Which was fair enough though, because he was being asked to join a dadrock band that was nothing special.

With Squire’s guitar (what else) pushed to the front, the band released a couple of clunky singles (‘Love is the Law’ and ‘Blinded by the Sun’) which did ok and then a truly awful album called ‘Do It Yourself’ (apt) which sold a few copies in the post-Britpop hangover year of 1997. Never had ‘Elephant Stone’ seemed so far away. Sadly for Squire, people suddenly realised why the Roses weren’t in existence any more and blamed him and his band of busking nobodies. He’s never really recovered and, bar one poorly-received solo album, now concentrates on his painting.

Angels and Airwaves – You are Tom Delonge. You are the guitarist in chartpop-punks Blink 182 and your band are massive. Not big, not doing great, but stadium-filling in America. What’s more, your core audience is aged 12-30, meaning you have years and years of this if you stick to the plan. We are talking serious cash here people.

Sadly, you are visited by ‘God’ who tells you that you shouldn’t be wasting your time with this disposable pop crap (even though you are good at it.) You owe it to your audience – nay, the world – to ratchet it up a notch. To be the next U2. So you leave, and you form a band who…sound like Blink 182 sans tunes, but don’t have the humour or the self-awareness and instead concentrate on lyrics dealing with, like, issues? And you sell about 25 copies while your former bandmate Mark Hoppus figures, fuck it, forms a band called +44 who sound exactly like Blink 182 and coins it in.

And what can you do? You can’t go back to the band as that would involve telling God to go fuck himself. So you are stuck.

Blind Faith – I mean, it should have worked. No matter if you are a fan of Clapton and Winwood, you have to admit that both of them are talented. But again, perhaps you can blame the times; it was all about ‘freedom’ and doing what you wanted. What they wanted was a hotchpotch of blues and soul that never comfortably fitted into either and in the end just doesn’t hang together as a complete album. And that cover – the topless pre-teen girl holding a very phallic toy aeroplane…neither big nor clever, lads.

The Tears – Bernard Butler and Brett Anderson have a sense of timing and decision making which, had they been a couple, would have led to many an unwanted pregnancy. Suede were trailblazers for what would become Britpop when, wisely, the guitarist decide to sling his amps in the lift in 1994 meaning that the band failed to release a record in the Summer of 95, Britpop’s 67. The band fizzled out and then, in 2005 just as re-union tours were becoming so popular that Shed Fucking Seven can fill decent sized venues, decide to re-form…under a different name, meaning nobody knew and even less cared. The record was all right; stick the Suede name on it and it would have done a bundle. There is a bit of me that admires these guys though; their hapless dedication to fucking up each other’s career, even without knowing, is touching.

Lessons? Do a Stones. Do a Ramones. Even if you can’t stand the rest of the bastards in your band, stick with them. Times are hard y’know.