Today would have been Joey Ramone’s 65th birthday. The birthday bash is tonight at Webster Hall, and there are still a few tix available. One very special birthday present to us all has been provided by our own Andy Shernoff, in the form of a new video and tune called “My Pal Joey” “Sweet Joey.” It’s a sweet tribute to a sweet guy. Andy played all the instruments on it, and we can only hope it makes its public debut in his set tonight, or maybe at his house show this coming w/e.
Check out the video below. The song is downloadable here, and all proceeds from your downloads go to The Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research.
This date in 1985 marked the debut of the Bel-Aires, opening for the Ramones at NYC’s Irving Plaza in 1985. Not to be confused with the car, the brand of cigarettes, or the 3 or 4 other bands with the same name, these Bel-Aires were a short-lived Andy Shernoff project, born at the very height of the roots-rock heyday of the mid ’80s, when it was nigh-on impossible to swing a dead cat in any major city without hitting a four-piece covering Woody Guthrie and singing songs about the Swampland.
The band consisted of Andy Shernoff on rhythm guitar and most of the vocals, Paul Skelton on lead guitar, Andy Bale on bass, and JP “Thunderbolt” Patterson on drums and the balance of the lead vocals. Paul Skelton was “the twangmaster of the Telecaster” in the Cornell Hurd Band for 22 years after moving to Austin. Andy Bale was a longtime member of the Sic F*cks, and later married Snooky.
It seems that everyone who was anyone gets a retrospective DVD nowadays. Fifteen minutes of semi-fame BITD equals two hours of talking heads and grainy clips on DVD. While we wait for “$2 Per Diem and a Peanut Butter Sandwich — the E. Factor Saga,” let’s take a look at 2008’s “TV Party” (Brink Films), which answers the musical question “How can a documentary have so much footage of prime-era Debbie Harry and still be so hard to watch?”
In its original run from 1979 to 1982, “TV Party” was, well, a TV party! It literally was a weekly party that was televised. Every week, the hoi polloi of the Lower East Side got together for an hour of chemically enhanced conversation and hijinks. Filmed with zero money, zero script and zero technical know-how, it’s kinda what you would get if you let the art class kids loose in the AV room.
There’s a lot of self-conscious acting up, forced fun here. Do you really think your Uncle Vin always wore a lampshade on his head, just because he did it in all your birthday party videos? Sorry kid, he was pimping it for the cameras, and that’s what most of the on-camera party-goers here were doing. No one is that ON all the time. There’s no doubt that it was fun to be there, but it’s a headache to watch.
There’s a montage of the weekly musical guests, and most of the artists were equally tough to listen to. To quote Chris Stein, who was the co-host of the show, it was “weird f*cking stuff — noise rock!” Continue reading →
Andy Shernoff’s Song Workshop is in the middle of a month-long residency at Otto’s Shrunken Head on 14th Street in NYC. We caught the set last Wednesday.
These gigs are rare chances to peek behind the songwriter’s curtain, and witness songs as they are being brought to life. The musicians barely know the tunes — experiments are made, risks taken, mistakes shrugged off. It’s endearing to hear the material in this manner, and it’s a unique experience for the audience.
This was the first time I’ve noticed just how amazing Brian Hurd and Tricia Scotti truly are, and how they are both perfectly suited for their supporting roles. They both display musical intuition that sometimes borders on the telepathic. Brian, who’s rocking the largest set of mutton chops since the heyday of Andre the Giant, never overplays, and always supplies what the song needs. Sometimes it’s a wailing solo, sometimes a background fill, but he’s always spot on and soulful. And Mother of God, what a voice on Tricia Scotti. It is a wonder of nature. I would pay to hear her sing the phone book.
Three of the night’s tunes were new to these ears, and all were memorable. “I Just Want To Save Your Soul” is almost spiritual in tone, while “I Know a Song To Save Your Life” has a Paul McCartney vibe (the GOOD Macca, not the “Just Another Day” Macca). “I Cried Love” was the best of the newbies, with a simple, soothing feel that is reminiscent of “Stay With Me” while sounding nothing like that classic.
The Otto’s residency wraps up tomorrow. There are more shows coming in Queens, and another soon at Café Nine in New Haven. There will be lots of Shernoff to go around in 2013.
Had enough of being force-fed the same 10 Christmas songs everywhere you go? Here’s the perfect antidote, a cleansing for your musical palate. Add it to your mix CD for Xmas Eve with the family, and odds are good that “go tell the elves to f*ck themselves” will induce the Xmas lovers to shoot eggnog out of their noses.