MUSINGS AND ABUSINGS: THE FALL 2016 EDITION.
Greetings and salutations to all those who have come to read my periodic ramblings. It has been quite a long time since I have dished out the updates and no better time to do so than right now. There has been a lot of stuff going on at Headless Pymp H.Q. with lots of new projects on the horizon and many others still in the works. Being busy is sometimes overwhelming, but since its busy work in the creative realm there is nothing more rewarding. So with all that being said, let’s get down to business and give you fair readers a dose of some news.
The research and data gathering has reached the one-year mark and no end seems to be in sight. I am still faithfully and diligently spending at least 6-7 hours a week poring over microfilm; gathering all the local scene action. My show list is now over 100 pages spanning 1961 to 1977, with a rough estimate of over 2000 shows cataloged thus far. It is quite a feat to scan through it all and see the ebb and flow of the southwest Washington rock scene. The continuing plan for the fall and winter months is to finish the 1970s, then go back to approximately 1957 to capture the early scene origins.
The 1960 were a happening time with bands and shows happening all over the local area. These events were geared towards the younger set and were full of vital and thunderous rock action. By contrast, the 1970s have proven to be less of a youth phenomenon and seems to cater towards the bar scene with shows taking place at such venues as Bonnie and Clyde’s and Humps in Clatskanie. The reasons for this shift are at this point speculative but no doubt have something to do with changes in musical taste along many of the old guard having moved onto college, the military, or mill life. In many ways the 1970s are painful to research just because it seems like the scene is not as vibrant as it once was. But there is still a smattering of young rockers and some old schoolers still out there doing some one off shows at the grange halls or local lodges.
One musician in particular who cut his teeth in the local 70s rock scene Jeff Pilson. Many of you may know him as the bassist of legendary hard rock bands Dokken and Foreigner. Pilson was plying his trade as early as 1974 in such bands as Second Growth, Mojo, and the ironically titled Kix. I have sent several clippings to Mr. Pilson via Twitter and he has ‘liked’ what I have sent him so that’s kind of cool. Hopefully in the future I can get him to help shed a little light on the 1970s rock scene because there is a bit of mystery to unravel. While the 70s are dominated by acts doing several week engagements and multi-night stands at the local watering holes, it is my belief that there is a small scene of young bands playing high schools, grange halls, and house parties. The only difference is that the kids are playing outside the scope of local media coverage. The decade is a far cry from the 60s and has proven to be a tough nut to crack. Once I start talking to more people I hope to make sense of this decade.
Going back to the 60s for a moment, I have had the honor to interact with Bob Kalal of The Nightwalkers. I have spent several hours with him and have regaled in the good times him and his bandmates were having. He is very proud of his time on the local rock scene and loves to reminisce. It truly has been a pleasure hanging out with him and allowing him to tell his story. He was also very generous in allowing me to scan a photo album chock full of pictures of The Nightwalkers in action both on the stage and on the road. I also have a 90-minute audio interview with him that I will be spending my winter nights transcribing. Once again I must thank him for his cooperation and his enthusiasm.
Another 1960s local rock legend I had the privilege to meet and interact with was Mr. Ray Kennedy of The Furys, King Biscuit Entertainers and a whole host of other bands. By my estimation, The Furys are the godfathers of our local scene. My interview and meeting with Mr. Kennedy was over 3 hours long in which he shared his musical origins, the early Longview / Kelso music scene, and his own musical journey. He made a two disc set of all the recordings he participated in and used his music as a storytelling device which made the conversation all the more interesting. Mr. Kennedy was also incredibly generous as he gave me records as well as the 2 cd set to take home. He was also helpful in getting me connected with some other scene legends whom I will be contacting very soon. Thanks to Mr. Kennedy and his lady friend Donna Zimmerman who were both enthusiastic and incredibly welcoming.
What once was going to be documentary film has simply become so huge that no film could possibly contain it. I feel that the research and its scope and breadth would be better suited to a book with a website for overflow of materials. There is little doubt that I will gather far more information than I could ever use as there are many twists and turns in the story as it is. But the goal is to be as inclusive as humanly possible because there is quite a story to tell. As always I ask that all of you spread the word and send your pics, flyers, stories and other ephemera my way as every scrap is a part of a much larger story. Help me get in contact with musicians, fans, friends, family etc. I cannot do all this without your help.
HEADLESS PYMP RECORDINGS NEWS AND GOSSIP:
So earlier this year I made the decision to do away with the Headless Pymp Rock Alliance moniker and return my label to its original state. There are several reasons for this. First of which is the word ‘alliance’ is inappropriate as there is no longer any ‘alliance’ of any kind. The extensive cast of rock and roll outlaws and weirdos simply does not exist anymore as they have moved onto other interests. The Hickmans which at one time were Longview’s greatest rock and roll band are now but a distant memory never to return. It was the very existence of The Hickmans which necessitated there be an ‘alliance’ of any kind. Nevertheless, with the circus leaving town so to speak, it is I, Chuck Roast left holding the bag as it fucking should be.
The second reason is that by reverting the name to its original state I can steer this label back to what it is supposed to be. When I started releasing tapes of my boom box recorded tunes in 1996 I wanted to release stuff that was lo-fi and comprised of experiments in sound. Earlier this year I released my solo cd ‘Archery Uncontained’ and it was the first release to feature the Headless Pymp Recordings logo in well over 15 years. It feels good to get back to basics and not worry about trying to assemble a gang of people who are not always of the same mind as you. Not trying to disparage the old days and the good times therein but I need to remain true to the philosophy of my art along with the shapes and forms it may take.
I have been compiling solo tracks for several months since my last release and who knows what form it will take in the weeks and months ahead. Rest assured it will no doubt lead to something. However, my instincts tell me it is time to get to work on the next Chuck Roast release and make it double CD. So with that in mind, that is what I will do. As far as live solo outings in the future I have nothing planned but I never rule out the possibility. If there is a bill that needs an extra act I am always open to doing them.
Noise and outsider music has always been a part of the Headless Pymp Recordings universe since its beginnings. The next release coming down the pike is ‘Don’t Be Sober When I Call You’ by the noise weirdo Gene Symptoms. As a former member of the Longview / Kelso noise duo The Sunken, it was Gene’s off the cuff, and freewheeling style that was part of their most memorable recorded moments. While former Sunken member Suicidal Tendons is delivering measured, deadly serious harsh noise in Portland Oregon as Redneck, Gene Symptoms is keeping it ugly and raunchy. His second solo album is being billed by Symptoms himself as ‘a gangsta party by and for the outsiders.’ Keeping true to the billing, ‘Don’t Be Sober When I Call You’ is chock full of collaborations with Don Haugen, Regosphere, Cedrics Lettuce, SBTDOH, Cracked Dome and Chuck Roast. I think those daring enough to give it a listen will find it to be a challenging yet rewarding experience.
So as many of you know Minty Rosa has been no more for quite a long time, the reasons for which are not worth mentioning here. However, I am really excited to say that Soft Kamikaze is our new project which we have been hard at work crafting songs and putting together something that we feel is pretty cool. I honestly believe we are taking things in a different direction, and expanding on previous excursions. Hilarie of course is writing killer tunes as always and is also kicking ass on guitar. I am making racket on guitar with the introduction of some noise and experimental bits. Jeremy is a killer drummer and no one is better suited to carry the beat with such great songwriting. Keenan is showing of his vast stores of talent as he joins us on the bass. I am really pleased with how It is developing thus far and we hope you enjoy what we dish out. We got our feet wet at this past summer’s Centaurpalooza and despite there being equipment issues we had a great time. Here’s to onward and upward.
We got asked recently to reunite for a birthday party and we of course said ‘sure’. So after four years of dormancy, we decided to put our teenage rocking shoes on and do it one more time. After having some scheduling snafus that were not entirely of our making, we have decided to take our time and do a show after we have had ample time to put something special together without time crunches and guidelines. Little did I know how good things were about to get.
One day I received a message from Dale which included 43 seconds of guitar parts. His instructions were to do something with the music provided. He stated that he recorded this snippet in a fit of hurried inspiration and that he was sure I could do something with it. After taking it to the fellows, we immediately sprung to action and have begun writing a brand new song. At this stage of the game the tune is largely complete we just need to find an ending. However, I am really pleased to say that this tune seems to accurately bridge gap between the teenaged and the middle aged. So now the floodgates so to speak have been opened and I am about to demo 2 songs for consideration and Gary [who joins us for the first time in 22 years] is also getting into the act as well. Who knows what will happen next but suffice it to say that our next live show will included some fresh material as well as a different set list than our 2012 outing. Glad to be playing with the fellows yet again.
I am sure that many of you know by now that I am no longer in The Lolligaggers. It should be noted that it was not my choice and that the reasons for my dismissal are not entirely clear. I rather enjoyed my time in the band and who knows what may happen in the future. However, for right now, I am happy to not be out playing shows so much and having to worry about other people while I am doing it. Hopefully the band gets back out there soon as it would be a shame to not continue. I will state that I am saying this as a fan and a friend and have no allusions about being a part of said venture either now or in the future.
That’s all for now. It is hella late and I doubt I am making the kind of sense I would like. If you are interested in helping me with the documentary project please get in touch. Stay tuned for upcoming Headless Pymp Releases. Soft Kamikaze will be playing a local show real soon go see our Facebook page for upcoming info. Stranglefish will play when we’re goddamned good and ready. That is all. Good night.
Cheers. Chuck Roast
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