This is not a tribute


For some reason, I feel compelled to devote time and energy to the subject of tribute bands – a niche of live music that really doesn’t normally interest me and has no relevance to me as it’s not a representation of incoming talent. With the greatest respect to these bands, as good as what they provide might be, I want to hear what the likes of Iron Witch and Zillah have got coming next, and not how good an impression of Phil Lynott a Thin Lizzy tribute act can do.

What has stirred the hornet’s nest, so to speak, is my own gullability. I was drawn in by my local rock bar, The Parish in Huddersfield, putting out a status on Facebook asking how many people liked TURBONEGRO. The post got a fair few appreciative comments with one or two people perhaps wondering and suggesting The Parish were about to announce something big. I certainly did, I’m embarrassed to say. I wish I hadn’t.
Maybe it was the fact Wheatus had just played there. Maybe it was because they’d had big acts in the last year or two. Maybe its because Turbonegro, much as I love them, haven’t had as great a profile in the last couple of years as they did around the middle of the last decade, owing to ill health and the departure of frontman Hank von Helvete…to scientology. I’m fully aware they did recruit ex-Dukes of Nothing singer Tony Sylvester to replace Hank and they’re doing the festival circuit this summer in support of new album ‘Sexual Harassment’. But I could dream. Aside from the aforementioned Wheatus, the venue had recently lured Ginger Wildheart and Fleshgod Apocalypse among its big names to perform there. Surely, surely this was going to be the epic announcement the tease suggested.
Not so. Instead, what was announced was Turbonegra, ‘the world’s number 1 all-female Turbonegro tribute!’ Several people appeared to like the announcement, others said they’d be on it in a shot. Out of respect I declined to comment further simply as I didn’t want to appear to be criticising the venue’s booking strategy (which I have no say in at all), and wasn’t intent on upsetting good friends with my brutally honest assessment.
Which is as follows: Aside from the irony of an all-female Turbonegro tribute potentially singing songs such as ‘Denim Demon’ and ‘I Got…(which I’m sure isn’t lost on them), I really don’t see the appeal. I’ve already seen the previous incarnation of Turbonegro three times, once at the Cockpit in May 2005 which I remember very well due to being on the verge of fainting from sheer sweat and heat exhaustion. That will probably be the Turbonegro experience for me that will never, ever be topped. But more importantly, the real Turbonegro are still very much active – why would I want to see a tribute act when I can wait for the real thing to come around again? And why would I want to tarnish such a memory by watching a band who, as good as they might turn out to be, will never be as good as the band they are imitating?

TURBONEGRO: THE REAL THING

Surely that’s a conundrum that most music fans that live in towns that bands don’t visit very often face. Do you save your money for the day your favourite band announces a tour within accessible reach? Or do you take a wild stab at that really similar sounding tribute act who play the area often? Who knows when Kiss will be back around town? The temptation to instead see Kiss Alive! Or Hotter Than Hell, for example, will always linger for those wanting a Kiss experience but not wanting to fork out the high prices the real Kiss charge. But again, I was lucky enough to see Kiss when they performed at Donington in 2008, an experience I will never, ever forget as long as I live. I even have the copy of the show on CD if I ever get reminiscent.

I’m not a rich guy. I’m comfortable but that’s through hard work and prudent financial sense. I’ve saved for the gigs I want to go to and more often that not, get the necessary bang for my money. I will never disrespect what bands like Turbonegra, Limehouse Lizzy, Hotter Than Hell, Slack Babbath, Motorheadache, Live/Wire et al do, and one day, my opinion may shift. But, while their heroes/heroines are still going strong, I’d rather sit back and wait. I’m not going to regret missing any tribute. I might regret it if I didn’t take my chance there and then to see the real thing live while they were in the UK, or while they were going. Fair enough if the actual band you’re aping isn’t around any more. 101% Pantera is one good example, considering the real Pantera will most likely never perform again owing to Dimebag Darrell’s death. Even then, I’d never feel desperate to want to go and see them.
Maybe I’m being a prude. Maybe I’m losing sight of the fact that a tribute band isn’t really going to make a lot of money out of their fan service, and that what they do is something they do well. Putting the effort in to be their heroes, performing to a range of spectators, not all of whom will regularly chuck themselves into a moshpit and more than likely have only the most passing of interests in rock music. More likely than that, they probably just want a good time, and who can blame them?
I’d love for people to chip in with their opinions. It’s not the most pressing of topics on a blog that is constantly championing fresh new bands. But I personally feel I needed to put it out there, because my own gullability certainly set me up for disappointment – disappointment at which I needed to vent.
Peter Clegg
Advertisements

Visions: Primus – Lee Van Cleef

It feels like ages ago since Primus released ‘Green Naughahyde‘, their first album in 11 years. At last, however, they have released an official video for the song ‘Lee Van Cleef’, which asks the eternal question burning on Les Claypool’s mind – whatever happened to Lee Van Cleef? The question was apparently born out of Claypool’s curiosity as to what became of the late Van Cleef, against the clamour for living legend Clint Eastwood, whom he starred alongside in some of the great Western movies in years gone by, including starring the villainous Angel Eyes in ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’.

The answer apparently lies here. You see, if you watch ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ right through to the end credits, you’ll see Angel Eyes reincarnated as a zombie. Apparently.

Peter Clegg

Dope Body – Natural History

Dope Body

Natural History
Drag City
The term ‘punk’ is more loosely defined than ever. Once a defiant statement of rebellion, its label has been applied to some many undeserving things that the lines of what is punk and isn’t punk are more blurred than ever before. Evolution is a welcome thing but the watering down of punk’s description certainly hasn’t been. These days, unless you really sound and look the part and chime in with an acidic bark and a sheer defiance of authority, the next best attributable thing is probably to acts which exudes a hint of apathy and a smattering of could-care-less what you think attitude blended with a penchant for excess. That’s perhaps how I could at least best sum up Baltimore‘s Dope Body, a quartet whose ‘Natural History‘ is perhaps one of the finest dangerous, reckless and indeed careless statements of arguable punk today.

What is noticeable straight away is Dope Body likes to mix things up. ‘Shook’ opens this album and is effectively their arising from slumber, really coming across with a Melvins and assorted slow punk vibe. The following track ‘Road Dog’ is a more straightforward rocker, with a fantastic pre-chorus chant of ‘do what you wanna do/see what you wanna se/go where you wanna go‘ before launching into a more passionate refrain. It’s hard to pick out what I like most about the album, with the fantastic tinkling riff of ‘Twice the Life’, the slow, brooding intent of ‘Out of my Mind’, the easy riding wit of ‘High Way‘ with the line of ‘I’m not hopelessly looking/I’m not hopeless but I’m not looking!‘ all proving to be addictive highlights. If its any justice as well, ‘Weird Mirror’ will be one of the feelgood hits of the summer, even if it were only for its ‘woah-oh’s and careening pace.


I’ve been listening to this record a lot over the last week or so and that I’m still enjoying it and still not tired of it speaks a lot for its quality. This was my first exposure to Dope Body and the results could not have been more stunning. I’m aware their songs were much more punchy and brief in their early days but they’ve evolved into a howling vortex of jarring noise and punk rock energy. It might all be effects and technical wizardry, but guitarist Zachary Utz seems to be able to contort and conjour all manner of noises from his guitar – I could’ve sworn ‘Twice the Life’s twinkling riff was a steel drum at first. The heady brew of sonic sounds is complimented by vocalist Andrew Laumann’s assorted yelps, howls and reverberations and makes for perhaps one of the most exciting bands of our time. Its punk rock thrown in the blender with the Jesus Lizard, Lightning Bolt and other assorted supplements, as if to celebrate your stupor. At the same time, it’s perfectly accessible, losing none of its quality for it either.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say its wholly original, but this experimental approach has certainly paid dividends and I don’t expect it will be too long (or so I hope) before Dope Body break out of the USA and over to Europe and beyond. ‘Natural History‘ is going to be an absolutely compulsory purchase when it drops, as high a compliment as I really give around here. Do it.
Peter Clegg

John Garcia and Brant Bjork respond over Kyuss Lives! lawsuit; Kyuss name dragged further through the mud


Deary, deary me. Now it seems its getting personal between the four men at the center of the pending lawsuit over the Kyuss name. As you may remember, Josh Homme and Scott Reeder filed a lawsuit against former bandmates John Garcia and Brant Bjork over the use of the Kyuss name in relation to Garcia and Bjork’s reformation of the band under the name of Kyuss Lives! Garcia and Bjork have remained largely silent. Until now that is, with this revealing e-mail exchange courtesy of Rolling Stone.

Some of the more interesting exchanges are listed below:
Did the federal lawsuit filed by Josh and Scott in March come as a surprise?

Brant Bjork: Was I surprised? As far as Scott is concerned, yes, I was very surprised. I wasn’t surprised by Josh at all. They don’t want to mention that they trademarked the name Kyuss after I left the band, assuring that I had no rights in Kyuss’ future. They’re both accusing John and I of doing something that they actually did themselves. Their inner conflict is this: both Josh and Scott want control and money from Kyuss Lives!, but they don’t want to participate and they ultimately don’t want us to exist. The double standard is unbelievable.

… We have a lot of respect for Scott as a musician and had a lot of respect for him as a person. Based on the fact that John and I jammed with Nick at Hellfest in 2010, we asked Nick to be the bass player and its quite obvious Scott is bitter about that. Scott’s stance is weak and shameful.

Bjork also went into detail about when he formed Kyuss in 1987 and criticized Homme’s attempt to claim the band as his own.This untruth has affected Josh’s ability to accept historical fact to the point that he truly believes he is entitled to dictate what we do with a band that we’re all responsible for. The simple fact that we got the band back together without him has left his ego bruised. I swallowed the bitter pill watching the band carry on after I left – now Josh is getting a taste.”
How would I steal a name that I myself found? Trademark infringement and consumer fraud are accusations used by Josh and Scott to justify why they do not want John and I to continue as a band without them. As for consumer fraud, we had a successful last year performing sold out shows all over the world. Kyuss fans are intelligent, conscious people. If they thought this was consumer fraud, they wouldn’t have supported it. Their accusation of consumer fraud a year after our successful tours is very insulting to us and to the fans.
John Garcia said of the band’s future plans:Win or lose, we believe that the name Kyuss Lives! is worth fighting for, and regardless of the outcome of this foolish lawsuit Josh Homme and Scott Reeder have filed against us, we will continue conducting business as usual and connecting with our amazing loyal fans. It is our God-given right to play any and every Kyuss song anywhere and anyhow we see fit, no matter who wrote what, and we will continue to do so for as long as we are alive. Because of this, we have already won.
I don’t think there are any real winners in this – at least Black Sabbath had already done their best to sully their reputation before the Bill Ward fiasco, but at least they’ve come out of it relatively clean time and time again. There are plenty of losers here – myself and fans of Kyuss the world over will be disappointed at how readily this lawsuit appears to be played out in public, and its more certain than not that more dirty laundry is going to come out of the wash yet.
Peter Clegg

Live Review: Black Sabbath @ O2 Academy, Birmingham, 19/05/2012

First of all I would like to highlight the predictability of this “review”, which can’t realistically be called a review, because that would imply it was an objective analysis. Attempting to write anything too derogatory about Black Sabbath might be compared to asking a devout Roman catholic to sodomize our good Pope Benedict XVI. This wouldn’t be a good example, because Black Sabbath are the creators, not an implement, secondly, I cannot vouch for the extent of sexual deviancy within the Catholic church.

After several hours of getting steadily giddier in Scruffy Murphies, (a place where a disregard for the decade leaves band t-shirts tightly tucked into denim) where the Sabbath discography was being worked through, we made our way to the O2 Academy. After being frisked and a quick bar visit it struck me that I was possibly going to have to stay in the same spot for the entire concert. The crowd were packed thick from the front to the very back and I had little hope of gaining much ground even if I coated myself in Vaseline drank away my conscience and ran screaming into these good people.

My worries about the view disappear when Ozzy’s voice screams out and an eruption of noise and raised hands is the crowd’s response. The Lord of the riff plays a rising scale and ‘Into The Void’, tears open the night. Concerns about the band’s enthusiasm or ability to play as they might have are immediately smashed. Ozzy sounds powerful and is as animated as I’ve seen him, grinning manically (possibly due to surgery) with blackened eyes, looking like an erratic jack in a box designed by Tim Burton. Tony’s flawless evil groove and biting licks are executed effortlessly, all while wearing his sun glasses and a thick leather jacket which must have been warmer than hell, his demeanour relaxed and emotionless bar the occasional telling smile. After War Pigs, Ozzy stated that people often complain about the lack of early material. The words “Black Sabbath” commence what was without a doubt the greatest part of the night. A glimpse into a part of history that created and evolved into heavy music as we know it today was possible, the intensity and raw heavy power of what Black Sabbath were in the early days electrified the atmosphere, with Geezer’s brilliant and ever changing bass lines maintaining the stomping groove throughout ‘Black Sabbath’, ‘The Wizard’, ‘NIB’ and ‘Fairies Wear Boots’.

It was during this frenzy of greatness that the androids I had situated myself amongst seemed to become increasingly disturbed by my movement, and general display of human emotion. Unequipped for dealing with this humanoid situation they began to shove and elbow me in confusion. For a brief moment, I stopped, puzzled. Tickets were hardly in abundance, this was a show for true Sabbath fans and these nerds are more concerned with me than the fucking Wizard and Lucifer! Ridden of guilt I informed them I wasn’t there to fry their circuits and ploughed through to much greener pastures (or a better view and section of the crowd).

The atmosphere had peaked and the coke fuelled uplift of ‘Tomorrow’s Dream gave way to the crushing Haze of ‘Sweet Leaf’. More early album greats came before the less predictable but very enjoyable ‘Dirty Women’. After being promised one more song if we were loud enough, very predictably, ‘Paranoid’ was played. I’ve never been sure why it’s a favourite and was a great deal more excited when they teased with the intro to ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ before playing it. The crowd explode one last time and a spectacular night is over.

It was a pleasure to see how much the band enjoyed it, with Ozzy joking amongst them, hugging Tony and calling him the Iron Man. The obvious void that Bill (Ward) left is a great shame and I’m sure he’ll feel that more than anyone. I’d be lying if I said that this put a downer on the performance in anyway, bar a “Bill”, chant that went pretty strong during a short drum solo. I’m not sure it was a very good idea to draw attention to the poor bastard sitting in (that’ll be Tommy Clufetos – PC) but he was soon rescued by the rest of the band. All in all Black Sabbath at the O2 Academy was the experience of a lifetime and one I’m honoured to have witnessed.
Michael Collins

We Must Obey is one year old!

Holy crap. Little did I know when I started this little blog on May 23rd, 2011, that it would be where it is today. Little did I realise I would have a nice little thing going on, with people from around the world viewing this little site and actually giving a crap about what I, and occasionally Michael, have to say, on subjects as diverse as rock, metal, live music, videos, popular topical culture, idiotic journalists, cake, beer, local issues, etc.
It goes without saying I’d like to thank each and every one of you who has supported the site is anyway since its inception. The labels, the PR firms, the bands, the gig venues. And you, the readers, the fans. And anyone I forgot.
We’re still a small operation and I, in particular, am hampered by woefully falling behind most modern technology and instead am really running this show on a shoestring. Limited access to internet, a laptop that barely works, and a reliance on listening to albums on the commute. If I were forced to continue down that path, I’d still be as happy as the day I started – listening to heavy music is my force majeure, and discovering new bands is my musical caffeine, and forever will be.
At this stage I ought to give a special shout out to Lauren Barley at Rarely Unable, who has done a fantastic job filling me in and keeping me informed on a lot of wonderful heavy music and some weird and wonderful stuff too that has truly broadened my mind. Not least of all for getting me in touch with a world I was previously not used to. A special shout out also goes for Chris at Witch Hunter too, Paul Priest, and any bands and indeed anyone who has e-mailed my inbox in the knowledge of having little or no chance of a reply. And certainly not least, cheers Mike for chipping in with your wonderfully-worded reviews and live pieces. That Five Finger Death Punch rant always makes me chortle.
My lack of resources and indeed the roving eye of copyright means none of you won’t be getting a mixtape out of me, or a sneaky free download or anything like that. However, I decided to give the site a lick of paint, which I sincerely hope you appreciate, and in addition, I’m going to provide you with a video I’m pretty sure is harder to come by than an issue of Kerrang that doesn’t feature the Black Veil Brides these days. This is the Combat Tour 1985, dubbed The Ultimate Revenge, featuring Exodus, Slayer and Venom in their prime. I was only a nipper when this tour took place. The only reason I wish I was about 20 years older. Three kick ass bands, all metal, all raging. Enjoy.
I’m going to mutedly celebrate privately at home tonight with my family and anyone else who happens to be there. With beer. And maybe cake. I deserve it, cos I work my backside off for this blog, and I will as long as it’s humanly possible.
Merci!
Peter Clegg

Trippy Wicked & The Cosmic Children of the Knight – Going Home

Trippy Wicked & The Cosmic Children of the Knight
Going Home
Superhot
Despite my burgeoning interest in what the UK underground has to offer, which was sparked by the creation of We Must Obey, it has taken me until now to check out the fantastically monikered Trippy Wicked & The Cosmic Children of the Knight. Only earlier this year they released an acoustic performance of Eyehategod’s ‘Dixie Whiskey’, played on a ukulele and with a melody the song had never seen before. It was genius. Therefore when notified of the release of their new album ‘Going Home‘, I was on it in a flash.

Initially, all is well – the title track starts proceedings and is a nine-minute sludgy rock journey. Epic is an entirely appropriate word to use here because it’s a divine track, really feeling like a voyage by the end, and Pete ‘Trippy’ Holland (who already contributed some cracking backing vocals to Stubb’s debut album earlier this year) really carries you home. Literally, he’s one of the best rock vocalists going at this minute. This theme doesn’t really run through the remainder of the record, as they get down to some nitty gritty blues rock riffs most of the rest of the way. The trouble is, after the initial promise of the first few tracks, they get mired it constant singing about alcohol and wanting another drink. Musically, its not bad at all, actually really enjoyable with some good rock action going on. The lyrics just let it down as it makes it sound very clichéd. By the time ‘Change My Way’ comes around as an act of redemption it’s a little too late, and the show’s over by then.
I can’t help but think if the tracklisting was played in reverse it might sound better. I just think that the euphoria I got from the title track would have been an ideal note to finish on. Nevertheless, for my all niggling, ‘Going Home‘ is still a solid album and fans of folky, whiskey-soaked rock are bound to go for this, as much as I’m keen to explore Trippy Wicked further. I’m a whiskey lover too, but I’d personally like to think Trippy Wicked can broaden their horizons come album number three.
Peter Clegg
Stream it below: