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"CANCON": CANADIAN CONTENT - AND DISCONTENT, OR "THE MOOSE THAT ROARED" BY JEREMY GLUCK.
“Canadian content (abbreviated CanCon, cancon or can-con) refers to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission requirements that radio and television broadcasters (including cable and satellite speciality channels) must air a certain percentage of content that was at least partly written, produced, presented, or otherwise contributed to by persons from Canada. It also refers to that content itself, and, more generally, to cultural and creative content that is Canadian in nature.” - Wikipedia

When Ottawa’s National Arts Centre opened in 1969 I was 11, just beginning my rock’n’roll music adventure, en route one day to making my own kind of. Situated in the heart of “Canada’s capital”, just over from Sparks - or “The Mall”, a pedestrian precinct rammed by the shopping centre vogue - and along Queen, one of Ottawa’s interminably long boulevards populated centrally with ranks of small stores before tailing out into suburban concerns, the Centre, or “NAC”, hosted not only opera and ballet, symphony orchestras and high-spec plays, but also bands more commonly associated in sound with the generic mid-sized hockey rink down the road, where acoustics resonant with a boom box in a diving bell rendered Sabbath, Bowie and all stops between a glorious murk. Indeed, I still recall older brother David telling me of the time, consigned now to local myth, when Black Sabbath blasted the rink so bad that people listening from a bridge beyond were getting a much better sound than those, bled-eared within, clinging – as though consigned to a calamitous catacomb - to sanity by the stage.

My own first vivid memory of NAC rock is seeing Springsteen there in ’73, on one of his first post-Newsweek/TIME cover sorties outside of the USA. My English teacher was there; I asked him if he thought Bruce was the “new Dylan”. Was he? I don’t think Dylan ever did an epic Mitch Ryder medley for an encore, so maybe not. Springsteen was incredible that night, coming onstage in that dopey woollen hat he favoured at the time, launching into “Thunder Road” and then with the E Street Band basically seducing the packed house with a phenomenal energy and passion somehow exorcising Altamont, resurrecting Buddy Holly and restoring faith in a music that though still young was preoccupied with its ageing process to the point (pre-punk) of paralysis. It was at that show that, during a particularly piercing Steve van Zandt solo, the perfect opera house acoustics of the room sent a note in one eardrum of mine and out the other; for many years thereafter, when that exact frequency was hit, I would again receive a pain in the head. A price well worth paying for some of the greatest live rock’n’roll music in history.

Which has to do with Canadian music how?

A smaller, but domestic noise in rock’n’roll history, generated by un Michel Pagliaro. I first witnessed Michel Pagliaro – known also solely by his surname or as “Pag” – at the NAC, too. A native of Montreal, he was the first Canadian artist to score top 40 hits on both the anglophone and francophone pop charts in Canada. That NAC night he was, as on “Pagliaro Live”, RCA Canada’s double album of his set of the day, rocking. It was because of the live sides that I sought out Paglario, and after the show lined up for his autograph.

Pag’s perfect pop triumvirate – in English; his French hits are more numerous but no less accomplished – comprises “Rainshowers”, “Some Sing, SomeDance”, and “Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy”. “Rainshowers”, all dolorous, shimmering treble balladry, is superb. “Some Sing, Some Dance”, by contrast bold strokes of tom-tom torn up by a middle eight of near-cheese flamenco vibes glossed with strings and rescued by a shortcut back to the killer chorus, is even better. But it’s “Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy”, with its telltale Pag Beatlesque harmonies and melodies that is the sucker punch, a strange hybrid of quirky Quebecois diction wed to universal pop principles of purity and potency. Backed by his trusty band of Montreal vets (later Moonquake in their further incarnation, see below) and singing at his peak, Pag delivers a simplicity of line and loose confidence impossible not to love. Sure, later came “What the Hell I Got?” a country and western conceit with a crack hillbilly solo and glistening barrage of acoustic, but “Lovin’” is the real deal, a cultural crossover one big hook long and with all the bait that hit parade heaven can allow.

Moonquake made two albums of their own of laudable quality. “Remember”, their paean to The Hippy Age, my band The Barracudas lovingly rendered on a long-lost B-side; my careful copping of singer Hans Hagopian’s hard rock, Quebecois-accented inflection is a matter of pride even now. Moonquake’s second album, with a suitably glossy, cheesy sleeve, was entitled “Star Struck” and made their sound sweeter; it worked, in a way, but the harder rock incarnation gets the vote for its more authentic French-Canadian Anglo-lingo limbo vambo.

* * *

I was sixteen or seventeen when I took my first girlfriend to the NAC to see Murray McLauchlan. Born in Scotland, he emigrated to Canada with his family when he was five years old. At 17, he began playing Toronto's Yorkville coffeehouse circuit, and was an art student before deciding to become a full-time musician. He is best known in Canada for his Canadian smash hits "The Farmer's Song" and "Down by the Henry Moore", which was about a sculpture in front of Toronto's city hall, where students met in the '60s and early 1970s.

McLauchlan was a fine folkcore pioneer. "Down by the Henry Moore” is classic folk-rock crossover, with its funky downtown Toronto lyric, obligatory harmonica, and McLauchlan’s very regional accent to the fore. For its time it had a lot of charm and placed its author almost up there with the Don of CanCon, Gordon Lightfoot, who deserves an entire feature to himself (if only to allow me to vent on “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”). McLauchlan’s finest hour, to my mind, is the immaculate album “On The Boulevard”, which capitalised studio-wise on his success and bought him backing that produced some wonderful songs. Observational, genuine (if sometimes marginally cloying and knowing), precise in execution but with real moxy in the playing, this is an album he might have stopped at rather than spinning out a career often short on inspiration.

Later, he won Canada’s prized Juno Awards on several occasions throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada, in others a Knight of the Great White North. Sweet.

* * *

My earliest memory of Canadian music would be Anne Murray chirping “Snowbird”, a marvellous, much-covered C&W standard that based on her beautiful, crystalline tones catapulted her at a tender age to stardom which she parleyed into a considerable tenure thereafter. Around the same time, and as much as in a parallel universe, another titan of Canadian song, gritty Stompin’ Tom Connors, was poised to churn out some of the greatest high quality hokum ever to grace a 45 spindle or, indeed, 33 platen.

My God, where do I begin with Stompin’ Tom, whose telltale pounding of the stage with his solid cowboy boot heal bequeathed to him a nickname and legend as vast and enduring in his homeland as the more remote stands of pine that even the greediest cutters strive in vain to hew? (It was reported that when asked about his "stompin' board", Tom replied, "It's just a stage I'm going through") After all the crazy shit about him that you can get into and give out, his music is unbelievably wonderful. At his peak, in the late Sixties and early Seventies, this jobbing musical native of New Brunswick, one of Canada’s eastern Maritime provinces, made records that could grow hair on a rock.

Almost unknown outside Canada, Tom proved anybody can turn out a “Tommy” anytime, but only a Stompin’ Tom can craft “The Ketchup Song”,  celebrating the, uh, relationship between tomatoes and potatoes! Take your existentialism and shove it! That ain’t all! “Bud the Spud”, about the regular mini-epic truck potato-toting round-tripping from Prince Edward Island to Toronto, defies explanation, much less description. And my own fave, “My Brother Paul”, in which the woebegone narrator details the fate he has been accorded harbouring his loafing brother, is just brilliant, full of humour, pathos and a natural wit that has eluded Spandau Ballet and almost all other bands since the beginning of Elvis.

Yet, much as Tom could (can…at 74 he lives still, and gigs!) play it for laughs, at times his social commentary was superb, as on “Sudbury Saturday Night”, about an average weekend in the northern Ontario hard rock town renowned for its Inco robber baryonic nickel and working class class:

The girls are out to bingo and the boys are gettin' stinko,
And we think no more of Inco on a Sudbury Saturday night.
The glasses they will tinkle when our eyes begin to twinkle,
And we'll think no more of Inco on a Sudbury Saturday night.

”With Irish Jim O'Connel there and Scotty Jack MacDonald,
There's honky Fredrick Hurchell gettin' tight, but that's alright,
There's happy German Fritzy there with Frenchy getting tipsy,
And even Joe the Gypsy knows it's Saturday tonight.

***

The Five Man Electrical Band (originally The Staccatos) was a rock group from my hometown of Ottawa, best known for "Signs", their honky 1971 hit single. "Signs" was written by Les Emerson and reached #3 in the Billboard Hot 100. It sold over one million copies. A supreme hippie anthem, it opened on the winning verse,

And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply, so I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why/ He said ‘You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do’/ So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"

A song borne of and milking a little world of baby Billy Jacks and haltered Hanoi Janes, tapping into a collective consciousness of processed alienation and middle class tantrums, it is both universal and quite Canadian, its cowpoke redneckery going back loam alone, knocking back Angst Lite that is the moodstuff of the Canadian, a kind of kinder rebellion that relies on civilized values and discourse to make its sharpest points.

It was with BTO – Bachman Turner Overdrive – that Canrock truly took off. Based on The Guess Who, unusual for a Canadian rock act in having been heard off beyond Canadian borders, BTO were battery farmed Quo, a backward Canuck Clamplett boogie formula and whose pounding pablum was irresistible to connoisseurs and cavemen alike. Music of density but never depth, ringing with thuds and thudding with rinks (stay with me, the Canconsciousness is rolling down the highway) BTO’s “Taking Care of Business”, which brought them to the world stage, is still a textbook on the noggin for anybody aspiring to drag the no-brainer buck into their corner. Sounding very much like snowmobile Slade, its raucous chorus a joy, and with its user-friendly, working class hosebag lyric, this is blue collar glam – like its portly purveyors – too fat to roll, instead stomping. “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” is even better, a glorious cascading riffslide and staccato chorus ripping your resistance out with blunt chainsaw teeth. Damn, it’s glam without the glam! It’s Canglam! A root canal of the soul, a who-gives-a-f**k at the prevailing prog excretions of the day, this is music made to endear and endure. “Rock’n’Roll Is My Life, This Is My Song” is so Canadian you nearly need a decoder ring and beaver entrails to divine its inner meaning so we will leave it to one side, as it were, on the woodpile.

BTO showed the world that even more than Lightfoot – by then an international brand – and The Guess Who – who, to the end self-effacing Canadians,  had many hits but failed to become a real “name” – that domestic Canadian music could travel. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell were voluntary exiles extraordinaire both, with L.A. in their blood, transfusing Canada according to song requirements, but it was the home grown, mostly homebound acts that, with their enhanced sales reach, must have somehow influenced the Toronto punk class of ‘76 and ’77 to believe that they could, too, with a fair wind conquer the world.

That they did not was never a question of quality: in the Viletones Toronto spawned one of the truly great punk bands, a fierce, funny and supremely fucked up combo, the Stones to The Diodes art school Who. Rejoicing in John Catto’s hard turned punk rock preoccupation with axe heroics (I recorded with Catto myself and he is a great player and technician who has quite the CV at this point), The Diodes amazed the Canadian music establishment by not dying at birth, on the contrary bagging a deal with CBS and making a great debut album featuring covers to die for in “Red Rubber Ball” and “The Shape of Things to Come”. A follow-up yielded the power pop perfection of “Tired of Waking Up Tired”, a short, slick stab at the charts that almost made it. Almost. Meanwhile, as The Diodes looked for a new route to the boardroom Grail, The Viletones, the brainchild of son of an advertising man Steven Leckie, make one incredible EP (and a second bordering on incredible) and then foundered due to their leader’s predilection for the usual vices, plus a nice line in self-mutilation. As utterly barking a showman as his stage name Nazi Dog suggests, Leckie was in is prime one of the finest performers I have seen, swaggering, abusive, hilarious, tragic, a middle class mutant with a brief to personally terminate “civilisation”. In the States he might have been shadowed by the FBI; in genteel Canada, he was remarked upon a great deal but, like the relative who steals your cutlery but must be dealt with civilly, was mostly ignored into oblivion.

The Diodes were the Earp’s to the Viletones’s Clanton’s. Well-dressed, intelligent (their first album has a song on it about tennis, way!), precocious and guided by an experienced Toronto music biz boffin, Ralph Alfonso (as opposed to the ‘tones cowboy Greek outfit;), as given to pop as to punk, with many, many more ideas than they knew what to do with – as opposed to Leckie’s one idea he knew all too well what to do with – these guys dug Generation X, did the right things and like I said got a major label to indulge them. The Diodes’ shows are not from this remove as memorable as the Viletones – who, given blood and theatrics from the asylum have a distinct advantage in triggering recall – but they were extremely cool. Toronto was lucky to have both bands, and all the others too, too many to list and laud here. It was a grand time, as vital in its way at the London or New York scene, but with a loveable patina of Canadian quirk. Humble punk, anyone?

Living for six months in Toronto before my thus far permanent pilgrimage to further shores, I saw both The Diodes and the ‘tones a number of times. The Viletone’s legendary shows at the crappy Colonial Tavern were awesome. Their debut, replete with Dog’s usual self-incised wounds, belting mania and backing from a band like The Cramps less the ‘Billy, this was music without the music, a screaming calamity where Elmer Fudd and “No Fun” found common, sacrilegious ground and when Toronto – and Canada – realised that in Nazi Dog they had one citizen short of team – if not teen - spirit. My brother (whose pal Leckie was as the band formed) and I had good times trailing around El Dog, whose energy was at that time endless. I learned some years later when I had my own band that he esteemed an EP we did, predictably of our puking-punkiest material. I was then and am still touched with validation knowing that the man who once before me bellowed “Screaming Fist” over a wall of something resembling sound found my racket worthy.

The last of the great underground Toronto rock’n’roll acts of the period was Johnny and the G-Rays, led by Johnny McLeod, and whose debut album “Every Twist Reminds” is a small masterpiece; “Put the Blame On Me” alone justifies hunting down this extinct gem. They recently reformed for a show in Toronto with The Diodes and I wish I could have been there.

* * *

In time, Canadian rock would again triumph, The Cowboy Junkies and Crash Test Dummies, Avril Lavigne became a skater sensation, Celine Dion – another Quebecois – became a schmaltz empress. two acts that defied the odds to break past the border.

Has Canada produced any great rock music? Certainly, as with The Viletones and The Diodes and many of their pocket-sized predecessors. Way back in the Sixties day there was The Ugly Ducklings, a poor man’s Stones whose single “Nothin’” is a putatively towering achievement in garage punk (students of The Barracudas will be gladdened to know that I lifted “Somewhere Outside”, the title of the Ducklings’ first album, for a song on the ‘cudas’ debut). Canada grew two songwriters – Young and Mitchell – whose contribution and influence is genuinely towering and tied even today to their roots in a country very different in spirit and intent from the one they have both adopted. Perhaps it is Stompin’ Tom, whose introversion, nationalism and stubborn devotion to a culture all his own marks him out as the Great Canadian Artist, at once naïve, native, cool, crazy, lovely, smart, black clad, tall and in a strange way also intense. Just listen to “The Ketchup Song” or “Bud the Spud”, fall headfirst into the country and rockabilly glory that coats each one, absorb the lyrics, as honest, plain and ridiculous as life itself at its best, listen for the signature stomp of Tom’s boot. Ask: Is this not living?

You can hear some of the above artists here:

For more information: Wikipedia carries entries for all of the artists discussed above. If you want to get anal, try Google.ca, the Canadian Google.

Liz Worth’s excellent “Treat Me Like Dirt”, an oral history of Toronto punk, has just been published by Bongo Beat Books. For information try: http://bongobeat.com/bongobeatbooks.php

An interview with Liz follows.

An Interview with Liz Worth, author of “Treat Me Like Dirt”.

What was your chief motivation for creating “Treat Me Like Dirt”? It strikes me as a classic “labour of love”. How long did it take to write? And how did you hook up with my old friend Ralph Alfonso?

I had started getting into bands like the Diodes and the Viletones after reading a novel called ‘1978’ by a Toronto writer named Daniel Jones. This novel, which was published in the late ‘90s, was my first introduction to the fact that punk’s first wave had touched down in Toronto the way it had in New York and London, and I was very excited about learning that. When I started seeking out the music that came from the Toronto punk scene, I got even more excited because a lot of it was really good. But I had a really hard time finding out more about these bands, and about the history of Toronto’s punk scene. It was a very under-documented movement compared to other cities’ punk scenes. About six years after first discovering Toronto punk and wondering what the story was behind it all, I decided to find out for myself and create the kind of book I’d been looking for all that time.

You’re right in assessing it as a “labour of love.” Once I got started, I let it take over my life for two years straight. I worked on it every day during that time. Every time I went out to hang out with friends or whatever, I would feel guilty because I didn’t want to be away from it for too long. I think it would have taken longer to put together if I hadn’t have been so obsessive about it, but when you get that kind of a feeling with a project you’ve just got to go with it. I did 200 interviews for it altogether. After I’d handed in the final manuscript, there was about another year of it being in the hands of Ralph Alfonso, my publisher, and it went through its proofreading and design phases then.

Ralph is actually one of the interview subjects for TMLD. I did three or four interviews with him, and during one of those conversations he said that he would be interested in considering TMLD for publication once it was completed. So when the manuscript was ready, I sent it off to Ralph and we moved on from there. It was an ideal situation because Ralph was, and still is, the manager of the Diodes. He also helped run the Crash ‘n’ Burn, a really important venue in the history of Toronto punk, and was around the scene as a journalist, photographer, and fan on top of it all. So he really had an appreciation for this story and believed it was important to get it out there.

Outside of Toronto and Canada what significance does your book, and the bands and scene it documents, have? What awareness of them is there in Europe and Japan, for example?

There is a lot of obscurity with some of the bands in TMLD, but there is also reach well beyond the city. The Viletones can name people like Daryl Jenifer of Bad Brains as a fan. The Diodes did a couple of tour dates in Italy this year. Hamilton’s Forgotten Rebels have also played in Europe. There seems to be some good interest in Teenage Head over there, too, as well as in the in United States. I’ve also heard that kids in China are into Teenage Head. I’m not sure about Japan, but I’d love to start connecting with people over there to find out. I have a feeling some of this stuff would go over great there.

The Viletones were one of the great punk rock bands of all time, in my humble opinion. What was the main reason that they failed to make it outside of Toronto?

Well, they didn’t actually get out of Toronto very much. They never did a cross-Canada tour, or North American tour, and they never made it to Europe. They did play gigs outside of Toronto, but there was no extensive touring. Teenage Head, on the other hand, toured all over the place. There are days when it seems like every person in Canada has seen Teenage Head. Obviously, that’s an exaggeration, but I’ve had so many people say, “Teenage Head played my high school,” or, “Teenage Head was the first concert I ever went to.” And you can hear that from people in cities all over Canada.

The original line-up of the band didn’t last very long, either, and it can take a while for a band to break out. Especially in Canada. When the Viletones broke up they had their first 7-inch, “Screamin’ Fist,” and their EP “Look Back in Anger” behind them, but that was it. There was no full-length album, and there was no record deal in place to help the band move forward. In the book, there are questions about whether a record deal would have ever been possible for the Viletones anyway, considering the band’s volatility.

But if they’d had a label behind them, pushing the band to get an album out there, would it have gone further? I don’t know. All anyone can do is speculate at this point. A lot of punk bands, not just in Toronto but in the States and the UK, had record deals and still never got anywhere.

There is awareness of the Viletones outside of Toronto. They have champions like yourself. And earlier I mentioned Daryl Jenifer. I interviewed him for a research piece on the history of Bad Brains a few years ago, at the same time I was working on TMLD. I hadn’t told him I was working on this book, and out of nowhere he started talking about how he loved to listen to their first single back in the day. It made me wonder who else the Viletones have had an impact on. It’s hard to measure because there’s been so much mystery surrounding Toronto punk.

So they did make it, in some ways, when you consider things like that.

To what extent are the recordings of the bands you’ve documented available now and would it be right to say that their legacy has been an influence on Canadian music in general?

In the 1990s, a local label called Other People’s Music started releasing a lot of Toronto punk stuff on CD in full-length format, which was really great because it gave a new life to a lot of this music, and made it more accessible, although I’m not sure how available those CDs are anymore. The Diodes had a Best Of album released on disc years ago and that’s still available, and they just released a live album, recorded in 1978, on vinyl. Some of the original vinyl is still kicking around on eBay and in record shops, but it can get pricey, especially since a lot of it is hard to come by.

So there is music around, but it can still be hard to find, although there’s been a strong resurgence around Toronto in the past few years and a lot of these bands, in various incarnations, have gotten back up on stage again.

I think you can say that they have left a legacy on Canadian music, although I don’t think that their influence has been so obvious. In Toronto, for example, a lot of these bands persisted through times when music venues preferred to book cover bands over original acts. Musicians had to find, or make, venues where they could play their own songs. Now, we have a really strong, vibrant music scene all over the country, but it took a lot of artists to break down a lot of doors to help create spaces for music to happen.

I can’t speak for other cities in Canada, but in Toronto, a lot of the gentrification of certain downtown areas, like Queen Street West, can be traced back to the punk scene, too.

I’ve been away a very long time. What is the punk scene in Toronto like now? I know The Diodes and The Viletones play to this day. In what condition is Nazi Dog (nee Leckie)?

There hasn’t been a Viletones gig in a few years, but Steven Leckie did play a show back in the winter, but it was a totally different thing. The Diodes just wrapped up a tour in southern Ontario with Johnny & The G-Rays and I was lucky enough to be included on that bill, so I got to tag along for all the shows. Every night was amazing. Both bands sounded incredible. The Ugly have re-jigged their line-up and have Greg Dick, formerly of the Dream Dates, up front.

There’s also always a lot going on in Toronto with younger bands. The whole city is buzzing, constantly, but it’s saturated.

Which of all the bands you’ve documented do you like the best yourself? Whose music stands up still? Who was, in hindsight, overrated? Underrated? Simply useless?

I always liked the Diodes. They were the first Toronto punk band I got into and have remained one of my favourite bands all along, so I’m really glad they still sound so amazing today. But I really like the Viletones, Teenage Head, and Forgotten Rebels, too.

It's hard to say that any of these bands were overrated, considering that no one made millions. There were a lot of bands that never even put out a full-length record. So it's hard to say anyone was overrated or underrated in a scene where not even the more known bands can be considered household names.

 ***

The Diodes’ Paul Robinson & John Catto.

At the remove of so much time, how do the halcyon days of The Diodes and CBS strike you?

PAUL: I am just glad to have anyone remember us at this stage.We are still alive and well in Canada and everytime we come back it shocks me.

JOHN: A long time ago & naive and chaotic on both sides, CBS really hadn't got a clue about anything, we were better, but not enough so and certainly not aggressive enough in our knowledge of being so. I wish I could time travel back to then with that opportunity in my hot little hand and what I know now in my head. The music industry is constantly being reinvented but really always stays the same, that's the genius of that whole KLF "The Manual" thing.

Would each of you please choose one Diodes song as your fave and explain why you chose it and provide some background to its writing and recording.

PAUL: Child Star written as homage to Buffy! recorded demo with Mark Gain from Martha and the Muffins at OCA still sounds strong. Something old, something I wrote, ahh "Time Damage", I'm almost surprised I came up with that to be honest. It deals directly with that inevitable discovery that time not only isn't linear, for one thing accelerating as you get older but also folds onto itself. All hideous stuff of course but hey it still works great on stage as well!

JOHN: Something old, something I wrote, ahh "Time Damage", I'm almost surprised I came up with that to be honest. It deals directly with that inevitable discovery that time not only isn't linear, for one thing accelerating as you get older but also folds onto itself. All hideous stuff of course but hey it still works great on stage as well!

You are both, like me, expatriates transplanted to the Mother Country. How did that happen and why have you not repatriated yourselves permanently?

PAUL: Love the UK sun makes you old and shrivelled glad to be in UK but it was economic suicide to leave at the top of our career. Guess like trying new things.

JOHN: I never meant it to be to be honest, it just happened, then the various anchors took root. Certainly when I arrived here I didn't realize that I was viewing the last gasps of the British (well London) live music scene and that by a few years later a combination of venues greed, lack of direction, faddishness and lethargic audiences would have killed it off forever. Toronto's music scene is stronger than ever however, how the hell did that happen? How come in the last few days I was in TO I got recognized in the subway (tube) multiple times by SEVENTEEN year old kids who aren't even supposed to know whether I lived or died, what did I think? ... need more all ages shows! ha ha

How did you come to play to the Italians of late? I assume The Diodes are a cult concern there? Tell me about the new vinyl live album!

PAUL: New vinyl out in Italy on Rave Up records Live at the El Mocombo 1978 when someone sends you a ticket and asks you to play in Rome and Venice how can you say no!!! Live Diodes is great John remastered it and sounds as fresh today as it did when it was recorded.

JOHN: Two questions, sorta one answer. Rave up records approached us, wondering whether we had anything we wanted to release, they were already "fans" and familiar with the history of the band. We had the Mocambo things so it all fell together. The same people did "Road To Ruin" so one thing led to another. It was really fun to do, great people. The live Vinyl album is a terrific artifact sonically and cute as a button as a thing, what can I say!uck

Article/interviews/Images supplied by Jeremy27/06/10

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