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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

An evening of Mott The Hoople

Storming out of Hereford in the late '60s, Mott The Hoople became one of British rock's most popular live acts. Yet, their records failed to reach audiences, and the band was on the verge of breaking up when one of their fans, a certain David Bowie, wrote 'All The Young Dudes' for them. Reborn, they zoomed to the top of the charts – and that's really when the trouble started.
We'll have copies of Shindig! Quarterly No.4 featuring Mott The Hoople on the cover and a 16-page feature by the band's one-time fan club president, Kris Needs.
There will be a screening of Start Productions' feature length documentary The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople which traces the rise, fall, rise and eventual disintegration of one of the era's most iconic rock 'n' roll groups through candid interviews with the band themselves and comment from various associates and fans, including The Clash's Mick Jones.
Following the screening, a Q&A with the band's enigmatic guitarist Ariel Bender and the film's directors will be open to the audience and chaired by Shindig! magazine's Jon 'Mojo' Mills.
Friday 18th November, 6.00pm, FREE

Rough Trade East, Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Events – Happening Club, Shindig! Night in North London, November 5th.

What Rosalie did next, after Ipso Facto and working with Magazine and These New Puritans. The four-piece are producing wondrous gothic psychedelia that you simply must hear to believe!

All the way from the USA! The 'Duke' (a title given by living London legend Parsley) hit his stride when he found complete solace in the works of Scott Walker, and his many disciples (Bowie, Bush, Cave,
Hannon etc.). This musical awakening has led his band to support slots for acts such as The Long Blondes and Theoretical Girl, as well as great support from highly regarded acts such as Art Brut and Camera Obscura.

We had to have them tonight! The four rockers that make up The November Five make bombastic old-school straight-die rock. Shindig! said "If you like the incendiary music of the MC5, Stooges, The
Birthday Party, Jim Jones Revue, or The Cramps then go download... Even better still, go watch them live as you will not be disappointed".

Then resident DJs PHIL ISTINE, CHARLIE SALVIDGE (back from touring with Toy as support to The Horrors) and guest DJ CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (Air Travel) will spin your world via ’60s/’70s dance floor psychedelia, garage, beat, and general rock’n’roll wondermints!

@ The Drop
below The Three Crowns, 175 Stoke Newington High Street London N16 0LH
8pm-4am, £6 entry
Buses: many. Train: Stoke Newington (from Liverpool St)

Arrive early to guarantee entry. We don’t want sad faces outside!

<<‘Happening’ has now established itself in London as the grooviest place to sample the delights of the Shindig! universe. The leading magazine for ’60s and ’70s music, in conjunction with Sweet but Deadly
Promotions, have made a corner of Stoke Newington, The Drop, their own little subcultural haven, inviting the best band’s and DJs to stoke the sonic fires. Come meet, greet and party with like-minded souls ’til your head explodes with delight!>>

FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=270298063003578

Events – The Fuzz-O-Ween Ball, Friday October 28th

Get busy with the fuzzness this Halloween! Courtesy of live sets by

Following last year's sold-out London show the "Gurus Of Garage Grunge" are back for more fun! Originally founded by singer/guitarist Rudi Protrudi in New York’s Lower East Side, their classic songs ‘Ward 81’, ‘Bad News Travels Fast’ and ‘She’s Wicked’, plus their many trashy versions of ’60s songs like ‘Gloria’, ‘Jack The Ripper’ and ‘1-2-5’ keep the fans coming back for more.

2010 LP Preaching To The Perverted saw them back at their musical best. An unmissable stage show means we’re all in for one hell of a headline performance.

Led by Leighton Koizumi the GV were one of the most influential garage revival acts of the ’80s, signing to Greg Shaw’s Bomp imprint and releasing the classic ‘All Black and Hairy’ album. The group never made it over to the UK to perform live... until now! Leighton has enlisted the help from four fellow fuzzmen – Fabio (The Lysergics), Fernando (The Lysergics), Alberto (MFC Chicken) and Hiro (Screaming Tea Party) – to form a band and perform the All Black And Hairy songs live, plus other favourites like ‘It’s Spooky’. Don’t miss the insanity!!!

Up to now we've known her as The Fuzztones keyslady and former Bonniwell Music Machine organist, but also Lana Loveland has gotten a band together and recently released Order To Love, an album of ’60s West Coast vibes.

It’s out now on Groovie Records. This will be their first UK performance!

The Higher State, from Sandgate in Kent, formed in 2005 and feature former members of The Embrooks and The Mystreated. They play authentic ’60s West Coast sounding original songs and are currently preparing to release their third studio album. Influences include Love, The Byrds, The Buffalo
Springfield, The 13th Floor Elevators, and many obscure garage and psych singles.

Here we have a two-man garage outfit from Southern Sweden with Lee Tea (The Nuthins/The Exciters/The Branded) on guitar and howls and Daz Trash (Skitzo) on voodoo drums and screams. They both hooked up with each other in Malmö and later played a Johnny Cash tribute together. They have released two 45s of grave-robbing garage blues trash and are the perfect kick-off to our scary party!

PLUS! Afterparty til 3am with DJs Phil Istine, Andy Roseaman (Mojo To Go Go, Brighton) & Arthur Scott (Dirty Water) spinning garage-punk, freakbeat and other assorted rockin’ trash 45s.

@ The Dome
(next to Boston Arms Music Room)
178 Junction Road, London N19 5QQ
Tube: Tufnell Park
Doors 7pm, first band 7.30pm, party til 3am!
Tickets are £15 in advance from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/130362, or
£18 on the door

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=19190438754

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Event – Wolf People Tour / Re-release of Tidings

Wolf People will play four UK shows in early 2012 (details below), including their biggest London headline set to date at the Garage on Tuesday January 17. The quartet will then return to the studio to start work on the follow-up to 2010's much loved debut album Steeple.

In response to fan demand, Wolf People's early material collection Tidings – previously only available on vinyl and digital formats–- will be given a CD release on January 23. As ever, download codes are available for reviewers or the merely curious (no physical promos).

Collected from recordings made by Jack Sharp in Bedford between 2005 and 2007 (and mostly before the band as it exists now was formed), Tidings is wild with tape hiss, feedback and background noise – a fecund broth of sounds competing for the listener's attention. Stitched together in a style reminiscent of Faust or early Mothers Of Invention, the songs lay nestled in snatches of field recordings, winding tapes, squealing feedback, studio outtakes and the voices of dead relatives. The tunes themselves are full of hissing guitars, distorted blues harmonica, acid-rock, mystical flutes and crackling tape, often based on updated versions of classic blues structures and half-remembered English folk songs.

October 29 Helsinki, Finland – Tavastia
December 3 Rennes, France – Transmusicales
January 13 Glasgow, UK – Stereo
January 14 Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
January 15 Brighton, UK – The Haunt
January 17 London, UK – The Garage

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Record Review – The Spartan Dreggs

Forensic R&B
Damaged Goods

This is NOT a Billy Childish album whatever it says on the cover and it’s all the better for it.

His lordship has created a backdrop for the bottled lightning that is Neil Palmer, late of The Vermin Poets and Fire Dept.
Guide vocals are left up in the mix and guitars remain resolutely detuned, the better to showcase Palmer’s caterwauling vocal style and autistic guitar.

Childish plays bass like he paints and Wolf Howard drums with such freshness and fire that you could be forgiven for thinking that he had only heard the songs minutes before playing them.
The songs are astonishing, Palmer and Childish weave tales as diverse as Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, The Hoo Peninsular, Aeolian Processes and Operation Dead Stick through amplifiers and guitars approaching their half century.

In forensically examining the spirit of rock ’n' roll they appear to have invented a new genre.

It’s prog, it's punk, it's pop, and it’s The Spartan Dreggs.
Richard Huggins

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Feature – The Meyer Dancers: The UK's premier Go Go Dancers



Within this hipster enclave against a backdrop of crushed red velvet drapery, a whiplash guitar cut's througth the exalted gathering. Freakbeat rythems begin to rise as the stage is suddenly awash with an exotica display of sensual reverie and explosive slinkiness. Tail feathers a shaking and bodies writhing to the propulsive beats, all attention is held in rapture by the sassy femmes leading this psychotropic parade tonight. We all flasback in unison to a world beyond the valley of the dolls and deep down within the go-go canyon.

Ladies and gentlemen be upstanding and please welcome the fabulous Meyer Dancers.
The Meyer Dancers are the UK's premier Go Go Girl dance troupe. Appearing at all hip and happening shindigs within the capital and beyond, they transform every event they appear at into a blaze of ecstatic glamour and earth shaking swagger. Previously known as the DRA Dance collective they have recently expanded to a five piece. I caugtht up with lead Meyer Treacle Holalsz over a few gin and tonics and easy chatter at a favoured local batcave.
Treacle: "For me the biggest influence and reason I started the troupe was the opening trailer of Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat... kill kill kill. It was the passion, strength, stamina and femininity of the women in the scene. What I had previously encountered in Go Go Dancing had been this very sweet interpretation, for example The Supremes which I personally don't see as Go Go dancing. It's very nice but it's basically a motown 2 step. Our whole thing was to bring back the proper Go go dancing. Our influences were the dancers at The Whiskey A Go Go in the ’60s, Tura Santana and The Ikettes. We just wanted to display that raw energy and I personally wanted to start a dance troupe that expressed that love, fire and passion we have for the music. Which I hadn't seen expressed since the ’60s."

Funny you should mention that, as within my own events I've always felt the need to have a Go Go dance troupe to accentuate the musical and visual impact. "When you are performing with a band from the ’60s or ’70s, I feel it really helps them as it's a way of really taking them back. I feel it helps to get that original passion from them again. Which may not happen if they were performing to just another unknowlegable crowd."
So how did the girls all come to find each other originally?
"We all met througth out mutual dance degree with the tacher Lee Bryson. We studied together on a B.A course in dance chereography, and bonded over morning ballet classes. Eventually we all found out we shared a mutual interest in Gin & Tonic's and record collections. And from there we all came to a descision that there was no one else out there performing any dance we wanted to see and that we should get out there and have a go. I had a friend that was running a ’60s night and he gave us the oppurtunity to cherograph a few numbers and get up and perform. And really it's all grown from there.
In term's of the new members, one of the girls applied to us througth our website and she is a Bollywood dancer, and the other is a fashion make up artist and designer. One of our original dancers Cherry met the latter on a fashion shoot, and she is this amazing 6ft 5 Amazonian goddess and Cherry was like "Oh hello... by the way do you like dancing by any chance?" (laugths)"
Going back to your early perfomances, are there any memories that particularly stand out?
"Well all of my memories are generally good, but the girls did ask to point out one particular incident. We had a misbooking at this members club in Mayfair, London. We began to wonder where the stage was and the owner's reply was "No.. no stage, two of you can go on the Bar and one can go on the amplifier..." and i was like 'Whaat?! This sounds faintly ugly.' But we stuck it out and the next thing we know this firebreather walks in, stinking of vodka and boasting about how she had burnt her mouth the night before. And the final straw came when a lady whom was a snake charmer came out dressed as Lara Croft and we decided Ok, regardless of the money, this is definatly not for us and promptly left."
On a more posistive and apropiate note, the girls have made a number of memorable appearances at Le Spoke Boutique..
"I only have good memories. And we'd definatly like to say a massive thank you to Rob Bailey, as he was one of the first people to gave us an oppurtunity to perform. But our favourite memory that we've all agreed upon is when we performed with The Sonics.....Firstly the crowd that night were so up for dancing. And that was the first night we did our routine 'Liar Liar' by The Castaways and it just seemed that everyone in that room had the same anticipation and raw energy. We then came off the stage to find we were sharing a dressing room with The Sonics, which I think would be any girls dream. We are all huge Sonics fans and to go in there and find they were literally some of the nicest people you could ever meet... they couldn't share enougth of their Corona Beer and cheese...! They were lovely."

Within your performances what is your dream music to dance to?
"We all love northern soul. It just lends itself dancing, you just hear it and want to move. And not only that a lot of the lyrics of the songs are telling you what dance moves to do. It's a cherographers dream. It's so good to hear music that is so upbeat and engaging, and it create's the energy we want. In terms of actual dance routines, it has to be 'Shake Your tail Feather'. For me I've been an Ike & Tina Turner fan for as long as I can remember. I had a record player given to me for my fifth birthday by a delusional godparent. And with it came a load of records, mainly classical and one record by Ike & Tina. So I used to do my ballet to the classical and then put the other record on and pretend to be Tina Turner. And when I met the other girls they were all Turner fan's, and there is this great night named 'Shake Your Tail Feather' and that was where we first premiered the dance.
"We had these shorts made that were black crushed velvet with these huge white feathers coming out of the back so it enabled us to be properly Tina Turner. And there is this wonderful clip of Tina from Soul Train back in the ’70s where she asked by an audience member. "What are your hobbies Tina?' and after a few replies she answers, "I  think I like being a woman.And that just sums everything up for us. We just want to go out and celebrate being feminine and express that joy and fabulousness that The Ikettes were all about."
And the fabulous future of The Meyers...
"Well as far a i know we are going to be the first dance company to attempt a ’60s Bollywood Go-Go routine. There is some amazing ’60s Go Go in the Bollywood world, but so far no one contemporary has touched it. We also have dates lined up at a Spanish festival in November, and in that same month we'll be dancing with the legendary Geno Washington. It's a charity event at The Cross in Birmingham, which as a big Geno fan is pretty exciting to me."
And with that we down our G+T's, pick up our tail feathers and shimmy into the star crossed dawn...

Feature – Personality Crisis. An interview with The New York Dolls' Sylvain Sylvain

It’s not often you get to interview one of your all-time heroes, but this April I was graciously allowed to speak, even if only over the phone, to Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls. Of the two remaining live original Dolls, I was initially offered David Johansen (who it has to be said I’m actually a little scared of) but  I eventually chose Syl as he came highly recommended by at least three friends who knew him personally and described him as a “warm, friendly, bubbly mountain of information”. This he proved to be – and more besides. So, for all you lonely planet boys, human beings, dancing monkeys and bad detectives out there, here it is….
Shindig!Dancing Backward In High Heels does represent a slight change in sound for the Dolls. I can still hear all your usual influences there – the girl groups, Motown, R’n’B, Spector, Joe Meek, rock ’n’ roll – but whereas before they were always buried under loud rock guitars, they’re now laid bare, with the whole shebang – strings, horns, organs, vocal harmony doo wop parts, right to the forefront. Your agent tells me this is “the album you always wanted to make”, so does that mean your previous albums, and in particular the last two, were not? Or that they were, but this one is even more so?
Sylvain Sylvain:  Well first, let’s not worry too much about what Peter has to say (laughs)!! But yeah, the creative process of going into a studio to write a record – I mean, you have to restrict yourself from contact with anything that’s gonna take it away from being pure and creative, you know? We tried to go in there without much thought prematurely, and write it on the spot. To take all our experiences of years of live performances and everything else, like our Little Rascals’ attitude to showbusiness, and bring that, and record it. You know, let the record take its own… natural course. And to try to produce the song, rather than the singer or the guitar player, or even anything else. That’s why we called it Dancing Backward In High Heels cos we still have that swagger in our walk, in our dance, and we can say to others, “Hey, you think you’re hot ? Well, we can do this shit whilst dancing, and backwards, and in high heels!!” And that’s pretty much the only thing. It’s just that the songs were recorded differently from the other four records, so that’s probably why they sound different.
SD: Sami Yaffa and Steve Conte contributed quite heavily to the writing on the last two albums, but they’re not here anymore. Were they at odds with a direction you wanted to pursue, was the split amicable or acrimonious, or was it simply that Michael Monroe wanted to work with his former collaborator again, thus creating a case of split loyalties?
SS: Well you know what, that’s really a question for them to answer. All I can say is  that we asked them both, we told them last June that we had this deal, up in Newcastle (as in On-Tyne, folks, where the new album was cut) and that we wanted to take it, as it was a great opportunity, and they passed on it. So that was that. And being the musicians that David and I are, knowing the musicians we know, we went to the drawing board, and made some phone calls, and I introduced my good friend Frankie Infante, who had played in Blondie, and he flew in…
SD: Yeah- Frank plays on the album, but you’ve got Earl Slick playing live. So what’s behind that?
 SS: The confusion there stems from the fact that Frank wanted to make the record, but didn’t feel like going on the road for the next two years- largely because he’s still out there making records of his own. But on the other hand it’s a dream come true to play with Earl Slick. It almost feels like he’s been there since day one!! And he loved Johnny (Thunders) too, which is really a plus, and probably the one and only thing that wasn’t fully embraced in, or was missing from, the last lineup.
SD: There’s not an awful lot of loud guitar on the new record- was some of it done when you were between lead guitarists, when Steve had gone but Frank was still on his way in, or when Frank was done but Earl was coming through? I mean, there are several parts where I can hear your rhythm, but there doesn’t appear to be any lead…
SS: Again, we went for the song first, and I did a lot of the writing on keyboards – that’s how it came out, and we’ll get back to that later, but you mustn’t forget that on the very first New York Dolls album in 1973, it says on the sleeve “Sylvain Sylvain, guitar and piano”. I played it on ‘Personality Crisis’, ‘Private World’… it was actually one of my first instruments, before guitar. And I’m a self-taught kind of a guy, so the key of C is my domain – I should say, my only domain… anyway, I wrote a lot of these babies in hotel rooms, and the first song that kicked it off was ‘End Of The Summer’. I did that in Blackpool. We were playing some festival over there, and it reminded me of Coney Island, cos it’s like a big city, but it’s also the end of the subway… you have that element of the beach.
Also, in my home, over the years, I’ve been a huge collector of vintage keyboards, like the Vox… I also have a double Farfisa , with one keyboard for organ sounds and the other for pianos and harpsichords and stuff, but I also have a Vox Jaguar, which is just three octaves, and the colours of the keys are reversed, so the whites are the blacknotes, and vice versa. It’s very cool, and very simple – it kinda reminds me of a Les Paul Junior guitar, with one pickup and two knobs. But they have that sound, you know, and over the years I’ve plugged ’em in through fuzz pedals, and done a collection of tunes on them, so I used them here. The second song I wrote was ‘Talk To Me Baby’, and that’s got some guitar, cos that’s my beautiful fuckin’ T- Rex influence, if I could call it that, coming out… the fuzzy, fudgy riff. And that’s another thing that’s a little bit different- not that we haven’t done this before, but usually I’ll come up with a tune in demo form, and I’ll give you the chord changes, and the arrangements, and usually it’s 80% there. And sometimes I’ll even come up with a hookline, like “Talk To Me Baby” was my line….
SD: So does David still write the majority of the lyrics otherwise?
SS: Oh, of course. He’ll write all of the storytelling and the verses, but he kept some of my hooks this time around, and that’s the thing that was different. The other time he kept my hook was “Dance Like A Monkey” on the One Day album. That was mine. And I think it worked better that way maybe, because maybe my sense of dyslexia has merit to it, and allows me to create hooks, because of the simplicity, I don’t know. And like I said, ‘The End Of The Summer’ was mine.
SD: That’s quite a happy sounding tune on the surface, because of its reggae feel, but the lyrics seem dark, apocalyptic…
SS: Exactly. And that’s the collaboration between me and David – I’m the sun, and you can bask in my warmth, so to speak, but with him sometimes, he almost seems like the dark side of the moon (more laughter)
SD: He does seem a little dark onstage – at The Old Vic Tunnels, he was ranting about “existentialism NOW!” , and on the One Day It Will Please Us album he mentions Schopenhauer – is he a deeply philosophical person at the moment?
SS: Well, not only at the moment, he’s always been. When we first started, I was coming out of the rag business in New York, and this guy was already attending classes and being part of theatre groups, The Theatre Of The Ridiculous for one, and he’s always been very well read, both of his parents are librarians… but he's also of course very New York, and I think if anything this record really brings out the New York in The New York Dolls.
SD: It does – because all the different musical sounds you might hear on the streets of New York are there in the album.
SS: Well, I dunno if you’d still hear ’em today, but you know what I’d like to hear – I was just a kid then, but, as you were coming out the subway, above ground level into the suburbs, over every street, there’d be a bridge, and guys would be either above or below it harmonising, doo-wopping, as they called it, and that was such a groovy thing….
SD: It sounds fantastic, but sadly we never had anything like that on the London Underground to my knowledge.
SS: And talking of the past, I’ll tell you who I miss over here, and that’s Long John Baldry. I’m kinda family with him, because he married my first wife’s brother! Now he’s gone, of course, and through the ’80s and ’90s he lived in Canada, so he was reclusive. But he had that song ‘The King Of The Boojie Woojie’, pronounced that way, (Ed: he’s obviously referring at this point to the preamble to ‘Don’t Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll’) because of what the officer said when he found him busking down on Wardour Street. He had him arrested, and the judge said “What the hell did you bring this guy in for”, and the cop said (mimics London accent) “He was playing the boojie-woojie”, so he wrote that song. And he would tell that story practically every night he performed!!
SD: A webzine recently referred to you as a “collective”, inferring that rather than a band with a regular lineup, The New York Dolls are essentially you, David and anyone else you find yourself working with, such as the Geordie pub backing singers on the new album. Is this true, or are you working towards another stable lineup now, with Earl and Jason? Brian’s been on drums constantly since you reformed, but it’s the originals people notice…
SS: You never set out to set yourself on anything. It’s all about change, and how fast you move and adapt, and being pragmatic and doing the best with what you’ve got in hand. I didn’t want to be confronted with having to get new members in the band two weeks before I was going in the studio (more laughter) but unfortunately I was confronted with that, so what the fuck was I gonna do? Just say “I quit”? No!! You gotta do what you gotta with the budget you have these days. I mean, everyone’s got a littler budget now, but you’re always at the top of that – if they give you $10, you’re gonna spend $10. They give you 10 million, you spend 10 million. So you do things album by album, and they’re like beautiful little babies, to their parents. They’re gorgeous, our little angels. Some have dirty faces, some have scars. Some have beards, or even glitter in their beards. How can I best tell you that? But that’s how it is.
SD: You say nothing is premeditated, but it does seem that with the musical experimentation and development of the last two albums, the Dolls could go almost in any direction from here. You’d always sound like yourselves, but taken one step further. Might we maybe see your concept album, or your New York street opera, at some point? Also, songs like ‘Fool For You Baby’ and ‘Kids Like You’ are quite psychedelic –is that a route you’d like to further explore?
SS: It’s all open really. Especially now – I can’t wait to get into the meat and potatoes, to use a musical term, of working with Earl Slick. I wanna see where that’s gonna take us, but I hope to God we never change as far as being a surprise. When you bought any New York Dolls record, even the first one, it was a BIG fuckin’ surprise. A shock to some. It was three years after we’d written those songs, and they were already well known anthems, so they were basically recorded live. We went into the studio, and it was good enough that we had Todd Rundgren, who kept it like it was, rather than trying to overproduce it or try and make us sound however. That’s how we were live, and that’s how it came out on record. You know the song ‘You Don’t Have To Cry?’ That’s a ballad – what else can you say about it, that’s what it is!! But it wasn’t planned like that… I wrote the melody on my smartphone, like a dummy, in some little hotel room, and at the time I was listening to early Kinks..
SD: I know Ray Davies is a big influence on you, and talking of influences, I’ve always seen the Dolls as several cuts above every other band that tried to use them as a blueprint but misunderstood them. However, you’re touring the US later this year with Motley Crue and Poison!!
SS: Ha ha ha, speaking of being misunderstood!! Well you know, rock ’n’ roll to me is one step above being a go-go dancer,  and sometimes you gotta take the dance the way it comes. As musicians, we’re glad and still amazed at how many people we’ve influenced – we wouldn’t have even gotten back together in 2004 for that Meltdown festival if it wasn’t for Morrissey, so that was really cool, and we have these wonderful musicians who are artists now – not that they’re any more important than our fans who don’t play music, but these special people became something, and they don’t forget us, and they come-a-calling. And I think part of it is that we always took chances, and we still do, just by making records today. We could easily become a revival band, and stick to the old stuff… but we wouldn’t want that!!  Because when it comes down to it, we love what we do, and part of it is writing, and recording. It thrills the shit out of us. Like what I was saying earlier about that first album – this is kinda weird, cos I’m going round in a circle here – even that was a surprise. So, when you buy a New York Dolls album today, it should be some kinda musical “WOW!!!!”, no matter what direction it is. And I think that we stuck to our guns, especially on this baby.
SD: Absolutely. But I suppose to a lot of people, the Dolls are representative of an ethos, the whole glam-punk-sleaze-trash thing. Now, I know you’ve advanced way beyond that, but there are some very sad people who still want only that, and some are narrow-minded enough to claim that you should never have reformed at all. Those people piss me off, but you get them every day, don’t you?
SS: We got the same thing at the beginning too. But thank God we didn’t listen.  We’re The New York Dolls, and we were born to write ’em and sing ’em, and write ’em and sing ‘em we’re gonna do.
SD: And that’s what I hope you carry on doing. Talking of the beginning, are any of you still in contact with (early guitarist) Rick Rivets? When I was a promoter in the early 00s he sent me a demo, so I know he’s still around, but do you or David still have any connections with him? Has he ever expressed interest in being a Doll again, or have you thought about asking him?
SS: I know he lives out in Long Island, and every now and then he goes out in New York and performs, but we really haven’t crossed any paths or rubbed shoulders together lately.
SD: On the subject of meeting people in the city, I’d like to talk about ‘I’m So Fabulous’, which seems like a rant, and starts with something called “Fabulous Rant”, against the current crop of New York fashionistas. This is obviously a huge bugbear for David, but is it the same for you? Do you get pissed off with trendsetters and tastemakers? Are you aware of how bad things are in London right now, or what “Shoreditch twats” are?
SS: No, I haven’t heard of those, you can tell me about ’em later!! But I’m a victim myself of this cleansing, if you will. New York, I pity the newcomers, because they either have to be sponsored by their parents or whatever these days. It used to be that $2-300 (Ed: I presume he means “calendar monthly”) could get you an apartment somewhere downtown. Then you could call yourself an “artist” for about six weeks and see if it worked out. But that’s getting harder and harder and harder now. And that why I left New York and now I live in Atlanta, Georgia. We have the same thing there too, and in every urban city that’s either upcoming or well-established, they’re always looking for their “moments”, but yes, there is that new influx. Me and David used to do this almost every Spring – walk round the Lower East Side together, and say “Look at this one!! I haven’t seen them before, aha, must be a new one!” And then you’d see them , they’d hear their “calling” and try to establish themselves in whatever craft they were about to manifest in, but like I said, nowadays it’s getting harder, so I was asking David, when we were in the studio, and I was in the control booth with Jason, “What the hell’s this one about, I’m So Fabulous?” And then I pissed him off in a way, so Jason hits the engineer and says “Push the record button!”, and this winds up to be the intro, where he’s tellin’ me all about it… it was accidental.
SD: I think you and David could get an entire albums’ worth of inspiration from coming over here and people-watching, albeit in a misanthropic kind of way….
SS: Well, it kind of is like that. David always graced all The New York Dolls’ lyrics with such colour and variation. And it was always about New York City, deep inside. And as much of the intellectual, connoisseur, poet, and well-read guy that he is, he always had that New York street sense. Like in ‘Trash’, just having that as a title!! Y’know, “Pick it up!!” It’s all about your life, y’know? And again ‘Streetcake’ from the new album is fabulous, and “Fabulous” itself, which is actually a New York saying. I remember there were kids in school being tough, picking on “punks” as they called them back then, they were the “fabulous” whatever. Back then, if you were a punk, you were scared. You were a pussy. That’s what it meant.
SD: It also used to mean the guy that takes it up the arsehole in the regiment, in the Army…
SS: I guess… in your army though, not ours!! Hahahaha!!!!! (cracking up into giggles) But anyways, the saying he uses in that song is “I don’t even know how they even let you on this subway”, meaning that they’ll just about let anybody on the subway as long as it’s wearing something…
SD: David certainly does have an incredible way with words. To my knowledge, he’s the only ever lyricist I know to fit the word “lustre” into a rock song, on ‘End Of The Summer’. I can’t think of another one…
SS: Oh yeah. And in that beautiful toon, ‘You Don’t Have To Cry’ I came up with, like I said, the hook, (sings) “You don’t have to cry, I don’t have to go, dee-dee-dee-da-deee…” and then the twist he put on that, where at the very end, he says “But let me see you smile”, it makes you melt, and ‘Kids Like You’ the storytelling there is incredible, and even a title in itself like ‘Baby, Tell Me What I’m On’, all those things…
SD: Well, again, him being such a natural wordsmith – such lyricism is one of the key things that elevates the Dolls above the likes of Poison and their ilk. And if you do go on tour with them, don’t let your drummer get in any car driven by Vince Neil… you know what happened to Razzle!!
SS:  Ha ha, I don’t even wanna go there, man….
SD: Well, I know you have to go now, so let me ask you one final question, on a personal level. Do you know a tall Canadian girl called Ashley, a rock DJ from Toronto? I’m not sure if you lived there, but she’s one of my very good friends from years back. She used to stay with me in London, years before the Dolls reformed, and she always spoke highly of you, saying “You gotta meet Syl, he drives cabs now, but he’s still 100% rock ’n’ roll, such a great guy"…do you know her?
SS: I think so….Wait a minute!! Ashley from The Bovine Sex Club!! Yeah, I know her, she’s an absolute sweetheart. She’d always be spinning for me. I’d come in and say “What Ramones tunes you got this week”, and she’d dig ’em out. You give her a great big kiss from me when you see her. But hey, I gotta go… see ya, baby.
The New York Dolls will be supporting Alice Cooper on his Halloween Night Of Fear Tour.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Style – The Ipcress Mod File

YVONNE MCKEOWN talks collars and sleeves with SATOSHI ABE, the most fab gear shirt designer in the Shindigverse!

Shindig!: Greetings from Shindig! UK! How is Japan this time of year?

Satoshi Abe: Greetings from Swinging Tokyo! In Japan it is the season we feel cool wind in the evening. It’s the end of summer. Summer in Japan is not a good season to enjoy fashion, because of the high temperature and humidity it's almost subtropical. We only enjoy T-shirt’s and blue jeans. We are happy coming of autumn as a best season of food and enjoying fashion.

SD: Introduce yourself to all the Shindiggers!

SA: I’m Satoshi Abe. The designer and owner of The Ipcress Mod File. Now I manage two ’60s style shirt brands in Tokyo and I have started The Ipcress Lounge. I like a Victorian style pub in front of The Toyyo Skytree in Sumida. I drink Spitfire which is a traditional English pale ale in Tokyo, which has given me inspiration for The Ipcress Spitfire range of sharp dressed shoes as the next challenge.

I have just sold off a 1964 1800s Volvo coupe. It is my dream to own a Triumph Spitfire.

SD: What is the mod scene like in Japan?

SA: I don’t go to there now. I’m very busy and I work at The Ipcress Lounge with cocktail shaker to midnight every weekend, but The Action is scooter mod team that comes to The Ipcress Lounge at weekends. A member of Les Cuppcinno is one of my friends and I like their sound. I invite this band in to my party every time!
I organised some big modparties in Tokyo called The Ipcress Good Guys about five years ago. Three hundred to 500 more mods gathered out of all over the Japan in those days, but I hear it is getting smaller now.

SD: You’ve said you’re going to be starting a blog like your friend Sweet Jane in the near future. It’s an interesting read, particularly the entry on Hapshash & The Coloured Coat and their mind-bending visual creations. Have you tried to incorporate that vibrancy into your own apparel?

SA: Yes, they influenced to my work greatly. Especially Nigel Waymouth’s jacket with the Chrysanthemum flower print by William Morris – it blew my mind! I don’t have the courage to coordinate looks like this gorgeous jacket, but I usually take inspiration from Morris’s artwork into my shirts. I love their style and atmosphere very much.

SD: Speaking of which, you have a brand new collection of ’60s style shirt replicas – and judging by the whispers of excitement around camp, it seems they're going to be flying off the shelves.

SA: The new shirts are the Carnaby Rock Hunter range. They have a sharp pointed B.D.collar and Fraped B.D pocket and the Mr Plonk line is a long pointed rabbit collar and double button. Both designs are made as a one-off or as a very limited edition – just like vintage rarities.
I think that it’s very important to promise quality and I take my work seriously. I am happy if customers notice my work as incomparable to other brands. I have a special attachment and pride and love being
supported by core minority fans!

SD: You mentioned the use of William Morris artworks, but you also use paisley and other flamboyant designs. How do you source the fabrics and patterns?

SA: I use special fabrics selected from all over the world. I like ’60s images and patterns especially collecting fabric like William Morris, Arabethque, paisely and polka dots... The patterns are directly reference to a lot of real vintage mod shirts from Europe but I add my own individual tailoring details into the shirts.

SD: Do you make the shirts yourself? Where and when did you learn your skill?

SA: I used to make a lot of shirts in the past, I learned to make the shirts at Bunka Fashion College, but now I make my shirts with five craftsman in Tokyo. I am mainly performing supply, design, and plan of cloth now. With the craftsman's cooperation the brand is realised.

SD: Who did you use as your key influences?

SA: It’s Mr. Milton Astley from Putney. I met him and his mate in ’94 at The 100 Club in London enjoying The Chords gig and clubbing. I was an art school student and studying about mod fashion. He is a great ’60s vintage collector. He told me about Levi’s, John Smedley, Tonic Suit, Harry Palmer and George Best.

Now he is on Facebook and sends me a lot of pictures about the mod scene in London and is a great reference about real casual mod fashion. Memories of him and his mate don’t fade. He’s a great person. He’ll be surprised when he hears this!

SD: There're lots of celebrities and scene darlings wearing your clobber already – who has been you most notable customer?

SA: It’s Mr. Craig Dishington! He is the deejey of The Eyes Wide Open club in Scotland. He will soon play lots of great records at The Double Sight weekender in Glasgow. At the moment I am just making his new rabbit collar shirt. He’s bought a few of my designs.

SD: If there was one ’60s icon you could make wear your shirts, who would it be?

SA: It’s very difficult question! I want to say David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Geogie Fame, Steve Marriott, Steve Winwood…But if I must choose three people, it would be Ronnie Lane, George Best and Michael Caine.

SD: If anyone is interested in making an order or seeing your creations – where do they go?

SA: If you have a chance to come sightseeing in Japan, please come in The Ipcress Lounge. It is my showroom with Victorian style pub. There are a lot of my shirts and fabrics. And you can also enjoy drinking Spitfire or a lot of cocktails and fish & chips! It is becoming a hot modern nightspot in Tokyo.

And if you live in Europe can access tmy website. If you like my shirts please send an email. I will start an online shopping page soon. Please also check out The Ipcress Mod File Facebook fanpage.
Finally, as you know, although Japan was hit by serious Tsunami and suffering a calamity, it obtains great support and cooperation from every country in the world, and is trying to regain a usual life little by little. Thank you very much for the interview!

SD: If you had to sum up your boutique in three words, what would they be?

SA: Fabulous, Swingin’, Unique.