Sunday, September 13, 2015

DOCUMENTARY UPDATE [plus the latest news from H.Q.]

            It has been a while since I last posted anything column-wise so I figured it was about time to remedy that.  It has been a busy summer full of changes, happenings, and action.  The rock and roll front for me has been altered in quite the dramatic way and it has been a fun ride thus far [more on that after I clue you fine folk in on some other stuff].  However, my long awaited Longview / Kelso music documentary has become quite a journey.  Here I shall share some of my findings with you.
            First off, the initial thrust of the documentary itself was going to focus primarily on the generation of music and musicians I myself have grown up with.  There was going to be some historical background information to sort of set the stage for what it is we have experienced over the last 25-30 years here in our little local enclave of rock.  However, I have begun digging a bit deeper and what was at one point a gathering of information has now become a spirit quest of sorts.  Yes, I have officially become obsessed with this project.  Initially, I was only working on stuff when A.  I felt like it and B.  When someone submitted something or I found stuff myself.  There had been times where the project lay dormant and I really could not bear to deal with it. 
            The biggest thing that has changed for me and my approach to this project is its scope and its focus of study or studies.  First off, it would be silly to believe that there was nothing going on around here before The Jimmies or Marmalade.  So it got me thinking honestly about what it was that I was looking for.  Here are some preliminary questions that one must ask oneself when conducting research such as this:

1.  How far back in time should I go?
2.  What sorts of origins am I looking for?
3.  What resources do I utilize?
4.  How do my findings play into creating a “documentary” in the traditional sense?
5.  Can I even make this into a documentary?

            My traditional approach to all manner of research has been to cast as wide of net as possible.  For me, it is much more preferable to have more information that I could possibly use.  But, since I am attempting to relay a narrative about a shared history, I simply cannot discard information that I feel needs editing out of a final draft.  All information on this topic is of incredible importance.  What I am finding out is that beyond simply looking at the musical aspects, there is a much larger community history involved.  With that being said, I feel very strongly that this is a story about a community that was far more alive than it is now.  Now I shall answer the aforementioned questions:

1.  It was decided that 1965 would be a perfectly acceptable year to start at.  I had a few reasons for picking this particular year.  First, it seemed that while a good deal of the bands that were on the scene at the time were essentially playing all the hits by their favorite artists, were also starting to slip a few of their own compositions into their sets. Many of the acts I have discovered were starting to cut records which featured their original tunes.  Second reason was simply because it was mid-decade, and most of the early rock trappings had kind of started to seem somewhat “old hat” as rock music started getting a bit more interesting.  However, let me be the first to say that I will be going back further in time.  The more questions one answers, the more questions one will have which is always the fun/frustrating part of research.
2.  When it comes to origins, it has always been my wish to examine the point in time when bands stopped aping their heroes and started creating their own stuff.  At what point did these early rockers start saying “Hey man, fuck “Louie Louie” I got this song we should try.” While this is an integral part of the study it is hardly the entirety of what I am finding.  There are cultural issues going on in the larger world of 1965 that were affecting young minds.  Countless examinations of large scale social changes which informed and affected artistic endeavors have been done over the years, mine is no different in that regard.  But what I hope to find in terms of origins come in the form of what our town once was.  I am not talking about Peter Crawford and all those old pioneer assholes, I am talking about the local lodges, the square dances, the movies, the food, the stores, the general atmosphere that was ever present.  We live in a place that at one time was alive and vibrant, full of good stuff.  What the hell happened?

3.  At this point in time I have been utilizing the Longview Public Library.  You will find me at least 2 days a week poring over microfilm, taking notes, making copies etc.  My cohort / wife Hilarie has also suggested looking at building permits as well.  Like all towns do, Longview / Kelso has gone through a tremendous amount of change and by all appearances most of it has been for the worse. As my study continues, there will be new avenues to explore in terms of resources.  I have compiled a list of places, people, and other sources that I will contact in order to glean more information.  As always, this is YOUR project too, your contributions are always needed and always welcomed.

4.  While the initial idea of creating a documentary seemed to be the end goal, this is no longer the case.  A documentary film on the subject matter I am studying is simply too constraining. It is my belief that if I was to do a film of approximately 1-2 hours would require me to gloss over a lot of stuff and not tell as rich of a story as I feel needs to be told.  While the documentary film is something I will strive toward in the future, I will simply allow the study and gathering to inform me as to what should be included.  There is also the possibility of going the Ken Burns route and doing a several hour series of sorts.  Again, I am in the gathering and study stages of this thing, I am in no particular hurry and I have very loose time tables as for when I would like to have stuff done.  In several years time I am confident that I will know what form this massive undertaking will coalesce into.  So yes I know that if my focus is narrowed and my presentation is kept tightly regimented I know I could make a traditional documentary film.

5.  This is sort of answered in question 4 but I will go a bit further.  This film can be made with the proper support and aid from a vast array of people.  While it is true that I am conducting my study alone, Hilarie has been immensely helpful to me as her way of thinking helps jar me out of dead ends and keeps me on track.  I prefer to work on this portion of the study alone as I know what I am looking for and have now developed a system in doing so.  So in terms of making a film, I am at minimum 2-3 years away from even filming a thing; and I am not even particularly interested in doing so.  The study itself does not require it at this time.  When it comes to conducting interviews on camera with the various players I will want to be armed with as much information as possible so that I do not come off like some sort of dummy.  As stated in previous blog postings, this project is not simply mine, it is YOURS as well.  You and your friends and relatives from both near and far all have a role to play, contributions to make, and stuff to say.  The wider I can cast my net, the better this project will be.  This is not just about music. It is about the formulation of ideas, the handing down of traditions, and helping these traditions to survive in the face of an increasingly fragmented and troubled world. 

            I do not know if I answered my own questions as I presented them but I feel that I am definitely onto something.  My research thus far has been so incredibly enlightening and just plain fun.  This project is something so incredibly important to me.  When I read old newspaper articles, see the ads, I feel like I am there.  It is my hope that as this project takes shape and I share things with all of you that it spurs you into action as well.  Go find your treasures and share them and help me bring this history to life.  Seek out your relatives and let them know that I want to hear from them, I am interested, and that I care.  History has powerful properties which can transport you, immerse you, and enable to time travel.  All this discussion of magic and immersion has got me in the mood to share some statistics with you.
              For me, compiling, analyzing, and conducting statistical tests are something I believe to be very illustrative.  It helps to make immense compilations of data easier to understand.  With that being said, here are some stats that should really blow your mind.

SPECIAL NOTE:  I compiled this information from analyzing the Longview Daily News from each day in the year 1965.  I am conducting this study in real time by examining each edition of the paper.  My show list is extensive and far reaching.  However, I will not claim that this list is complete, but I can pretty much guarantee that it is as accurate as anyone is ever willing to go.

·         256 shows in total which works out to approximately 21.3 shows per month.
·         129 of those shows were in Longview/Kelso at a rate of approximately 10.75 shows per month.
·         127 of those shows were in towns such as Castle Rock, Woodland, Kalama, Rainier, Clatskanie, Cathlamet, Puget Island, LaCenter, Ridgefield, Centralia, and Winlock at a rate of approximately 10.6 shows per month.
·         Local shows took place at 19 venues such as George’s Broiler, The Smith Center, Triangle Mall, I.O.O.F. Hall, A.W.P.P.W., Three Pigs Tavern, Twin City Tavern, Owl Tavern, Capn’ Yobys, Riverside Park, Bunker Hill Grange, Kelso High School, R.A. Long High School, Mark Morris High School, Lower Columbia College, St. Rose Gym, Y.M.C.A., Commerce Avenue, and Lake Sacajawea.
·         26 venues outside of Longview/Kelso were hosts to shows on a weekly basis such as Gram’s Annex, Sunnyside Grange, Castle Rock Grange, Eagles Hall, Rainier Theater, Rainier High School, Kalama Community Hall, Kalama High School, Norse Hall, Puget Island Grange, Long Beach Pavilion, Woodland Grange, Veterans Hall, Winlock Community Center, Winlock High School, Centralia Rollerdrome, Foodland, Svensen Grange, Clatskanie High School, La Center High School, Ridgefield High School, St. Helens Teen Center, JC Pennys, and St. Helens High School.
·         Located on Commerce Avenue, the Smith Center was the spot to see some of the top local bands as well as touring acts from as far away as Minnesota.  Some notable acts whom appeared there were:  Paul Revere and the Raiders, Don and the Goodtimes, Dick and DeeDee, The Liverpool Five, The Kingsmen, and The Wailers [who came to town a staggering 8 times during the year].
·         The Triangle Mall was another great spot in town which hosted public dances and rock and roll shows.  Many of these events were broadcast live on KEDO. 
·         Quite possibly one of the busiest local bands was the well dressed, hearse driving combo Jerry and the E.T.s who played 38 shows throughout the year all across Cowlitz county.
·         The Daily News was just as dismissive of local music in 1965 as they are today.  Rampant misspellings have made research “interesting” to say the very least.  A few bands who suffered at the hands of local scene reporter Steve Ponder were The Marchands who were also called The Marshans, and The Torques who were labeled as The Torquays and Torque As.  Ponder also liked to make not so witty quips about rock and roll music which has been a long standing Daily News tradition now being studiously upheld by Tom Paulu.

Pretty amazing stuff to say the least and as I begin studying 1966 I am sure that there will be more surprises.  While I am working on all of this I still hope to hear from all of you, both familiar and unfamiliar.  Yes it is true that I am doing the heavy lifting here, this story is going to need contributions from participants and spectators alike.  No piece of memorabilia is too insignificant as each photo, flyer, article, video, and recording has a special place in the grand scheme of things.  I urge all of you to speak to friends, relatives and neighbors who were around during these early years.  So many people are unaware of what I am attempting to do and I hope that with your help; my friends and co-conspirators; I can spread the word far and wide.  As I stated at the beginning of this long manifesto, the most thorough studies are only as effective as the net that one casts.  Contact me by whatever means you choose.  I am available for questions, comments, and discussion most waking hours.  Again, I thank those of you who have contributed items thus far and thank all of you in advance for all your help and support.

            In amongst all this research I have been doing, it has been a busy time at Rock Alliance World Headquarters.  As many of you know Minty Rosa bit the dust several months ago.  While the intent was to simply lay the band to rest, I have a strong hunch that this is not to be the case.  Details are sketchy at this time but it is my belief that there is still more work to do.  Our leader and songstress Hilarie Hughes has been making new songs and I feel that both myself and drummer Jeremy Denman need to get back to work.  Whatever form any future outings as Minty Rosa may take are purely speculation at this point and nothing is set in stone.  As the person who gets to hear her recordings first hand, I can safely tell you that Hilarie is going next level with her songs.  The next few months will be interesting to say the least.
            Your favorite one man lo-fi recording stud CHUCK ROAST spent the entire month of March recording a song a day.  The results came in the form of my 34th solo outing “Blues For the Deformed Secretary.” You can check out the tunes at my soundcloud page and hear all 31 songs.  I am very proud of these songs as I feel they capture some of the spontaneity of my older recordings.  Let me know what you think.
            Well it is getting to be that time again and your favorite local legends THE HICKMANS are gearing up to celebrate 15 years of true Longview rock.  Guitar hero Biff Dougan and myself are going to bring the classic acoustic duo back to show you sonsofbitches how it is done.  Of course, being the geniuses we are, while preparing for the 15th anniversary party we will be recording a new CD with brand new odes to chicks, drugs, booze, and criminal behavior. 
            As former member of THE SUNKEN, noise geek Gene Symptoms is putting the finishing touches of his second solo album entitled “Don’t Be Sober When I Call You.”  It features guest appearances by SBTDOH, Don Haugen, Regosphere, and Cedric’s Lettuce.  Some of the tracks slated to be on the disc are “I Miss You Susan” and “Monoxide Radio.”  Early listens to the mixes are proving to be amazing as they are a radical departure from his previous disc “Horses of Rome.” It should also be noted that Gene Symptoms has signed a deal with Headless Pymp Rock Alliance.  When asked why he did so his response was “Fuck it.  Why not?”
            Well, as many as you know, the lineup for Longview’s longest running punk rock band THE LOLLIGAGGERS has been dramatically altered.  For some of you this has been a welcome changes and for some of you it has been a difficult transition.  Let me help set the record straight for you.  Both myself and bass player Joe Deal were brought in to help the band out when their frontman/bassist could not make it to some shows.  I was asked and I accepted the invitation without any hesitation.  We got together, started practicing, and apparently everyone enjoyed the process.  Three shows have been played thus far and it has been a great time for everyone involved.  However, with drummer Dustin Wheeler having moved to Nashville to pursue his musical aspirations, a major hole was left to be filled.  I am happy to say that MINTY ROSA drummer Jeremy Denman has agreed to step in and handle the drumming duties.  It goes without saying that Dustin will be missed but his spot is being held down by a true local legend and a great dude to boot.
            So what does this mean for the future of THE LOLLIGAGGERS?  We recorded some songs before Dustin departed and those will see the light of day very soon.  Additionally, we are starting to compile ideas for new songs for a future album.  Lots of stuff is starting to happen and ideas are flowing like wine.  However, for you sissies that are afraid the band is going to veer off course let me be the first to tell you that the new ideas Eric Lolligagger laid down on 4 track are about as classic as it gets when it comes to THE LOLLIGAGGERS.  Keenan also has aces up his sleeve and his newest contribution “One of Those Days” is a real anthem.  Even your old pal CHUCK ROAST has brought a tune to the party entitled “You’ll Never Love Me Right.”  The intention of this new lineup is to keep it true to Eric’s vision as well as go only slightly off the beaten path.  Does that make sense?  Nope.  Just wait till you hear what comes next.
            Now, for all you fine folks who have come out to the shows and said how much you like this new lineup and the changes that it has brought, we thank you.  For those of you who have cried your eyes out and said “it’s just not the same” and “it’s just not The Lolligaggers anymore” all I can say is TOUGH SHIT….GO FIND A NEW BAND TO LIKE.  For a brief moment Eric did contemplate changing the name but I talked him out of it.  Eric has put 20 years of his life into this thing and as long as it feels like THE LOLLIGAGGERS to him then that is exactly what it is.  All you sniveling poor sports are just going to have to get over it.  The proof is in the pudding muthafucka.  THE LOLLIGAGGERS are not going anywhere anytime soon so you might as well just shut your trap, come to a show, and taste the pudding.  Tis quite a tasty pudding indeed.

Tyler Stockton AKA Chuck Roast
Headless Pymp Rock Alliance
Longview Washington

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