Making it weird: RSD, Biram and Nimoy

By Tom Smith

Spring is here, allegedly, but don’t be surprised if you have to shovel snow after you read this. I mean it’s only the first of April, and this is Wisconsin. Quick! My review of this winter: Worst Winter Ever! Lots of great live music in Green Bay this April to help us recover from the mental scars inflicted by the numerous beatings of the Polar Vortex. The show I’m most exited for is the return of Molly Gene One Whoaman Band Wednesday April 23 at the Crunchy Frog. Molly is a must attend if you like Howlin’ Wolf, Son House, Hank Williams, Bog Log III, or Scott H. Biram. This bill is a stacked deck with Purgatory Hill and Corey Wayne. It starts at 9 p.m. and only a $6 cover.

April also brings us Record Store Day. The Exclusive Co. Green Bay is once again participating in this national event. Doors open at 7 a.m. for the hundreds and hundreds of Indie store-only exclusive releases and store wide super sales. Here is a very partial sampling of the releases I’m most excited about: Suburban Mutilation “The Opera Ain’t Over Til the Fat Lady Sings” the legendary Green Bay Hardcore band featuring the Rev. Norb on vocals and bass is having their 1984 debut being re-issued on red vinyl via Beer City Records.

Beer City is also putting out an unreleased live album on vinyl by Toxic Reason “Live Berkeley Square December 1981.” Beer City is also re-issuing two Toxic Reason 45’s “Ghost Town” and “War Hero.” Beer City is also re-issuing die kreuzen’s “Cows and Beer” single in 7” and for the first time ever in 12 inch.

Mudhoney “On Top” a live album in vinyl recorded on top of the Space Needle last year. Devo has three releases coming out the pick of the litter is a live album in vinyl recorded at Max’s Kansas City in 1977. Ramones have a 10-inch vinyl piece “Meltdown with the Ramones.” Velvet Underground “Loaded” on pink, white and black splatter colored vinyl. Husker Du “Candy Apple Grey” on you guessed it, grey vinyl. Gram Parsons “Alternate Takes from GP and Grievous Angel.”

The Exclusive Co. will also have a food drive for Paul’s Panty. Bring in two non-perishable items and you will receive 10 percent off any non-sale item — RSD indie exclusive releases that day excluded from this discount. There will be dj’s spinning vinyl and a very special live performance at 5 p.m. by Rev. Norb and the Onions who have been known to play some Suburban Mutilation. Open until 9 p.m. Hope to see you there.

Scott H. Biram
“Nothin’ But Blood” Bloodshot Records.
Timebomb Rating: 13 of 13

Writing a review of the latest full length by Scott H. Biram, AKA The Dirty Old One Man Band should be very easy, but it isn’t and I will tell you why. When reviewing an artist such as Scott H. Biram, I feel that if I don’t convince you to check his music out, I’m letting down, you, the reader, myself, America and Jebus Christ. Talk about pressure. The responsibility of the decision whether to intervene with military force by the U.S.A. in the Ukraine pales in comparison to what I have before me. So let’s make a deal … you check out Scott H. Biram and let’s not have World War III this year. Come on, if you get one thing out of the movie the “Princess Bride” it is that you never want to get involved in a land war in Asia. In 2008, I had the incredible opportunity of seeing Scott. H. Biram perform live three times in about the space of a month, this is what got me hooked, this is when I joined the Scott H. Biram Army — happy to report this army has no boot camp. I’m not writing a review, I’m part of a crusade against crappy soulless music. Heck Scott isn’t just trying to save your musical soul; he’s trying to literally save your soul.

“Nothin’ But Blood” is a combination of punk, blues, country, county blues, gospel, folk and metal distilled and aged like a fine whiskey. In case you didn’t catch it earlier, Scott is a one-man band, what you hear is Scott solo. “Backdoor Man” reminds me of Howlin’ Wolf. “Only Whiskey” is straight on Black Flag. Speaking of Black Flag, I’m as excited to see their new line up as if it was announced that Ritchie Blackmore was reforming Rainbow with Adam Lambert as the singer and the rest of the band is filled out by the Goo Goo Dolls and signed to a new record label owned by Peyton Manning. “Alcohol Blues” is a great story of drinking and a girlfriend who in no uncertain terms is being unfaithful. “Gotta Get to Heaven” should win a Grammy for song of the year in the Best Country Blues Gospel Performance category. That is if Grammies had any real meaning, which they don’t. “Never Coming Home” is a tender ditty of making a life change. “Nam Weed” shows Scott’s ability to write a great song from someone else’s perspective unless he somehow served in Vietnam when he was a one year old. “Church Point Girls” is another dose of hardcore punk rock. “Around the Bend” is metal that could have come out on Earache Records in the mid-eighties. “I’m Troubled” is great acoustic blues about false love and the feeling that it is all you will ever receive and the heavy burden that lies upon you. The compact disc has three bonus tracks, two of which are on a 45 that came out shortly before this album hit the racks. “Amazing Grace” a great version of this classic, please someone arrange for Scott and Emmylou Harris to sing this at my funeral. “When I die” is a soothing song of the eternal piece that the lord is going to give Scott when he passes on from this plane of existence. If no one can arrange for Scott and Emmylou to perform at my funeral I will settle for this song being played on a boom box. Last, but not least is another great American bluesman doing a superb job of covering the classic gospel blues call and response song “John the Revelator.” In the first part of this century I got much satisfaction knowing that when numerous bill collectors were calling my answering machine to attempt to collect on a slew of credit cards I defaulted on that they had to listen to the Son House version of this song. The vinyl of this album is pressed on blood red colored wax. Purchase this album and stop the apocalypse.

Leonard Nimoy
“I Wrote a Book About Rock and Roll” American Recordings
Timebomb Rating 13 of 13

When the package arrived in the mail and I opened it and I couldn’t believe my eyes. In my hands was a cassette tape of a forthcoming Leonard Nimoy solo album. The last time I got this excited upon receiving an advance cassette I was a dj at WGBW and that release was VoiVod “Dimension Hatross.” The year was 1988. Needless to say, I don’t get too many advance cassettes these days. The cassette came with a pamphlet explaining what was contained on this cassette. This album was recorded in absolute secrecy at Smart Studios by iconic producer Rick Rubin and engineered by Justin Perkins. When this was recorded was not revealed to me. This could have been one of the last major projects recorded at Smart before it closed in 2010. I have stated I’m not too fond of albums with a million guest stars on them, but for Spock and Rubin, I can make an exception. The title track is a Mr. T Experience song from their stellar “Alcatraz” album. Dr. Frank, Jym, and Joel of MTX play on this track. Pretty crazy, what’s next? Dr. Frank writing a book called “I’m Not Dr. Frank”? Track two: “Chinese Rocks” by the Heartbreakers. Love that the lyrics in the beginning of the song are changed to hey-hey-hey is Scotty home. Guitar on this track is provided by Walter Lure. Track three: “Sheila Take a Bow” by the Smiths. This was a wonderful surprise and always has been one my favorite Smiths songs. Johnny Marr of the Smiths handles the guitar. Track four: “99 Problems” Yes. this is the Jay-Z song. Jay-Z appears on this rapping and Leslie West on guitar. Words can’t explain how this song turns out. Track five: Continuing the rap portion of this album we have “Mashed Potato Time” from the Dee Dee King, AKA Dee Dee Ramone — rap masterpiece “Standing in the Spot Light” the most over looked rap album of all time. Lena Lovich contributes vocals. Track six: “Raspberry Beret” by Prince. Prince also sings backup vocals and plays all the instruments except for a guitar solo by Tim Schweiger. Track seven: “Mckenzie” by Redd Kross from their landmark “Neurotica” album. Milwaukee’s Plasticland provide the backup on this track. Track eight: “Gimme Gimme Grape Juice” Mr. Spock is covering Green Bay’s own Boris the Sprinkler. Rev. Norb of BTS contributes vocals, harmonica, and bass guitar on this. I hope this duet gets released as a single. Paul #1 and Paul #2 of BTS also provide guitar and drums. Sounds like Paul #1 overdubbed 50 thousand pick slides. Track nine: Low and behold another Green Bay band is covered when Nimoy takes on Beach Patrol’s “Top Down.” Beach Patrol provides the backing on this turbo charged version of this classic Beach Patrol song. Track 10: Rick Rubin reaches into his past again with the Glenn Danzig/Roy Orbison penned “Life Fades Away” that Roy does on the “Less than Zero” soundtrack that Rick Rubin produced in 1987. Track 11 and the conclusion of this surreal album is the Replacements: “Here Comes a Regular.” The mighty figgs are called upon to back up Nimoy on this perfect way to close the album.

April Fools! Wish this album really existed.
Make Green Bay weird.

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