Power Pop lives!


I was in my favorite local record store very recently, when I heard coming out of the store’s sound system the song "Don’t Talk To Strangers". Not the original version by The Beau Brummels, but a version by a band whose sound was familiar to me, but that I couldn’t quite identify. I went up to the counter to see who it was, and learned the song is on the most recent album by a favorite of mine, The Flamin’ Groovies. I also learned the album had been put on by a young female employee, in her maybe mid-20’s. I was astounded someone that young would not only have heard of them, but also presumably liked them.

I asked her how on Earth she knew of them, and she told me her band had opened for them on their last trip through Portland (Oregon), and that she had loved them for quite a while. I asked if she played guitar (everybody wants to be the guitarist in the band, right?), and was informed she is, in her own words, "a Classically trained pianist." I quipped, "Ah, slumming, ay?". Her laugh told me she was my kinda girl. Too bad I’m not a boy. ;-)

Anyway, the fact that The Groovies are still at it, and that another Bay Area group---The Rubinoos, one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen live---have a brand new album is heartening to me. Yeah, a lot of new music is not to my liking, but that there is new music being made which appeals to both a mid-20’s young woman and a sixty-nine year old man keeps hope alive.

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I read recently that Chuck Prophet is out there promoting The Rubinoos now.
I caught Sloan last year in a small local venue.  They are my age and have still got it!

@slaw, as you probably know, Prophet lives in the Bay Area. All us locals (I grew up in San Jose, a short 45 minute drive south) consider The Groovies local heroes, fighting on in the face of the unstoppable hippie horde that was dominant when Cyril Jordan and his band emerged in ’68.

I bought their first independently-produced 10" record at the time of it’s initial release, but didn’t see them live until ’82, when the band I was in shared the stage with them at a small club in S. San Francisco. Cyril and I (and singer Chris Wilson) got on great, sharing our thoughts on various subjects (Dave Edmunds---who produced their fantastic Shake Some Action album, in my all-time Top 10, Jake Riviera---Nick Lowe’s manager, whom I don’t care for. Cyril hates him ;-).

At the end of the night, I saw Cyril whisper into Chris’ ear, who then came over to where I was standing with the other guys in my group, steered me off into a corner (with all my guys staring at us ;-), and asked for my L.A. phone number. As luck would have it, the phone had just been shut off (I was moving out of a rented house into an apartment with a female admirer ;-). I later read that was drummer David Wright’s last night with The Groovies. Damn! Ah well, if I had gotten that gig, I wouldn't have gotten the ones with Emitt Rhodes, John Wicks (The Records), Evan Johns, Pearl Harbor, Don & Dewey, etc. Ya can't win 'em all!

@bdp24 ,

You have encyclopedic (like) knowledge, and a memory that just won't quit, my brother. Love reading your posts!

Your anecdote made me chuckle. The 3 records I pulled out for my afternoon listen;

Nick Lowe - Labor of Lust

Dave Edmunds - Repeat When Necessary 

Rockpile - Seconds Of Pleasure

Been awhile since I listened to any of these. 


Nick/ dave / rockpile you cant go wrong.

Billy Bremner and Terry Williams are also a large part of the Rockpile sound. They played three nights at The Country Club in Reseda, CA on the Seconds Of Pleasure tour, and I went all three nights. I was surprised by how many of the cool guitar parts were played by Billy rather than Dave. Edmunds was still taking his two 1958 Gibson dot-neck 335's (one blonde, one black) on the road, not aware of how much they were worth!

Terry was in Dire Straits for a while after Rockpile, but Nick says he's not playing any more. Age is harsher on drummers than players of other instruments, being so physical. I had to have some physical therapy recently, for a "frozen" shoulder. Pounding out the 2/4 backbeat for 55 years will do that to ya!

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Eric.
Looks like I will not be visiting after all.

My supervisor decided he fancied a West Coast jaunt in summer and I have been condemned to a hellhole in Dallas instead.

Real shame.

But he is also clueless on that project and I am just waiting for the phone to ring and I can cheerfully hit ignore......
Thanks for the post. I enjoyed recently the Groovies live in Madrid, Spain. Just 12 Euros ticket, small venue, a beer and quiet talk with Cyril and Chris after the gig at the door's venue. Nobody really knew their faces, except some ultra fans like us. We took some pics with them. Cyril still was leading the solos rvery well, way better than the rest of the band. Chris was too tired or drunk, apparently. Looking forward to repeat. And it will be easy. The Groovies are way more respected in France and Spain that in US. Teenage Head is my favorite album, while I recognize the high quality and magic of Shake Some Action, their blockbuster hit. Cheers.