Watermelon Men – Seven Years

For everyone that follows me on the weekend…I’m working on a home project and I will only post one Twilight Zone each day with no music posts this weekend. Have a great weekend. 

This song was released in 1985 on the Watermelon’s album Past, Present and Future.

The Watermelon Men were a Swedish five piece band that were around from the mid Eighties up till 1994. They had quite a following in Sweden, Germany, England, among other places.

The band is still popular over ten years after they ceased. They are praised in power pop circles in Europe. They were mostly known for garage rock and brought good melodies with jangly guitars in a lot of their music.

When they were together they released three albums, an Ep, and three singles. One album remains unreleased…it’s up in the air on if it will come out.

The guitar player Imre von Polgar died in the tsunami disaster in Khao Lak in 2004. Shortly after, the band reformed for a one time show in his memory.

Seven Years

If the man can’t choose which way to go
If the girl don’t know where she belongs
Then you’re apt to say all the love can’t kill the pain
Till they meet, he’ll be a traveling man
When his hope was buried in the ground
In tears she left her man behind
The you’re apt to think seven years has passed today
Till they meet, she’ll dream her life away

You won’t feel, you’ll meet her someday
And in his arms, she’ll always stay
But it’s the story
No one ever fades

In surprise they think
When they both run from themselves
Till they meet, the story has no end

You won’t see, you’ll meet her someday
And in his arms, she’ll always stay
But it’s the story
No one ever fades

Billy Rancher and The Unreal Gods – Uptown

This band had one of the most inspiring rises and the most devastating fall a band could have. They had the help of the biggest rock star in the 80s but that couldn’t stop what was coming. A truly sad story and a what might have been.

When Billy Rancher was a kid…he didn’t dream of rock stardom…it was baseball that he dreamed of. Billy’s father Joe was in the Dodgers minor league system. Billy was born in 1957 and he was an all-city shortstop at Madison High School and played ball for Mount Hood Community College on an athletic scholarship. His mom wanted Billy to finish his education, but his dad died in 1978, and Billy dropped out and concentrated on music.

He taught himself how to play guitar and started a band in Portland, the Malchicks, with his younger brother Lenny. That band soon broke up and Billy formed the Unreal Gods with Jon DuFresne, Bill Flaxel, Alf Rider, and Dave Stricker. The band was a hit in the Portland club scene…they even opened up for Peter Tosh at one point. At this time around 1981, Billy found out that he had cancer. He went to the hospital and he was cleared of cancer afterward.

The band raised some money and went to New York to record for Joe Delia, a session musician and independent producer.

They rehearsed at an auto-body shop, a favorite rehearsal spot for local bands. They noticed someone walking through…and that someone was Bruce Springsteen. Bruce helped to get the Unreal Gods into the Power Station…a famous studio…which was the place to record in the Big Apple. The Rolling Stones were putting down tracks there at the time.

Clive Davis, head of the Arista label, heard about this Portland band that had impressed Bruce Springsteen and hopped a flight to see them. Davis, caught an Unreal Gods show at the club Starry Night. He signed them the next day.

The label hired Men at Work producer Peter McIan to produce them. Right away the band were at odds with Mclan…he wanted to take their rawness away. Billy argued with him and the band agreed they would have found common ground but it was not meant to be. At this time Billy found out his cancer had come back. The label was sending the band to England to tour but that was put on hold…permanently

Billy fought the cancer and he was thought to be cleared but it then spread through his body. Billy Rancher died on December 2, 1986.  He played live up until before he died.

In 2019 an album named Upstroke Down was released and featured some of the songs they were working on for Arista and others that sat in the vaults…including Uptown.

Jon DuFresne: Stuff started showing up on YouTube, I’d think, Wow, that was me. There we all are. There’s Billy. Did that really happen?

https://www.oregonlive.com/history/2019/08/billy-rancher-and-the-unreal-gods-kings-of-downtown-portland-streaked-toward-1980s-rock-stardom-until-tragedy-struck.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Rancher

Barracudas – We’re Living In Violent Times

This 80s band started off as a surf band and then they switched to a more garage band sound. The song has a 1960s feel…it would be expected from a band who had a song called (I Wish It Could Be) 1965 Again.

The Barracudas are an English-Canadian band that formed in 1978 when Robin Wills (from London) met Jeremy Gluck (from Ottawa) and they are now based in England. The band’s original line-up consisted of Jeremy Gluck (vocals), Robin Wills (guitar and vocals), Starkie Phillips (bass and vocals) and Adam Phillips (drums).

The band broke up in 1984 but reformed in 1989. In 2005 they released their back catalog and that provided a boost to their career. They started to release singles and an album in 2014. They ended up with more compilations albums than regular releases.

This song was released in 1981 on their debut album Drop Out.

There was also a sixties band with the same name.

Jeremy Gluck: Radio was an enormous influence. You can’t imagine now how important it was then, it would seem sentimental to get into it. There were some good local stations, like CFRA, that played the Top 40 – I remember calling them like crazy in hope of my “Bang-a-Gong” request hitting paydirt. But the best was on FM. The night my top FM DJ played all of ‘Quadrophenia’ days before its release was one of many highlights. At night through the crystal clear winter skies I could tune in dozens of American stations, and discovered a lot of music and madness that way. Radio is magic: the first time I heard a record of mine on radio (John Peel show!), it was an epiphany. 

Jeremy Gluck is the author and founder of the Nonceptualism art manifesto…yea don’t ask me but he described it.

“Nonceptualism is about the (an) end to art, and the end of the idea of an artist in self-concept and conception and execution of work, as we and consider it…but maybe it’s also my way of saying, It’s about an end to some or all of me as I’ve conceived myself since conditioning began – as it does with all of us – not long after birth. Which I like…” 

We’re Living In Violent Times

Stayed in all day
I was scared of getting killed
Didn’t pick up my pay
I know I’ll just get bills
Maybe it’s all in my frozen mind
We’re living in violent times
Maybe it’s in my mind
We’re living in violent times
Took the news off the TV
It always depresses me
Put my new car in the garage
I’m so scared of a crash
I couldn’t wait to turn off the lights
We’re living in violent times
I tell ya
We’re living in violent times
Protested
Guess I should look at the bright side
And be glad just to be alive
I’ll be happy right now
If I come through this and survive
I’m not imagining this I see the signs
We’re living in violent times

Fuzztones – Bad News Travels Fast

This song rocks… The riff sounds like it was borrowed from Jethro Tull’s “Locomotive Breath” but he goes somewhere else with it.

This was the debut single of the Fuzztones in 1984. The band was formed in 1980 by  Rudi Protrudi  in New York. The band was nicknamed “The Gurus of Garage Grunge.” a decade before grunge existed. They played a large role in the mostly underground ’60s revival during the 1980s.

Their debut studio LP, Lysergic Emanations, was released in 1985. Thanks to praise from Ian Astbury of the Cult… the newly relocated Los Angeles-based Fuzztones were one of the few to get a major label deal. Thanks to a hugely successful tour of Europe in 1985, the group built a loyal and dedicated fan base there, and they toured there regularly ever since.

The band broke up in 1987 but Rudi Protrudi recruited other members to form a new Fuzztones and they have touring and releasing albums ever since…with Rudi being the only original member.

According to Discogs they have released over 21 studio and live albums between 1984 through 2020.

Bad News Travel Fast

Well I got somethin’ to say girl
I hope you’re listenin’ close
‘Cause here’s one fish you caught that’s
Slippery than most
Baby You’re just a schoolgirl
Well here’s a lesson you can use
All the other women
Say that I’m Bad News
You’re not the first
You won’t be the last
Bad News Travels Fast

Well you’re friends they all warned you
My heart is black as coal
So if you wanna ride my highway baby
You gotta pay the toll
You know I’m bad
That’s where it’s at
Bad News Travels Fast
Well, don’t you try to change me
I’ll just string you along
Sit back and enjoy the ride
Tomorrow I’ll be gone

Baby you’re just a schoolgirl
Here’s a lesson you should learn
If you want my lovin’, baby
You gotta wait your turn
Well You’re not the first
You won’t be the last
Bad News Travels Fast
Bad News Travels Fast
Bad News Travels Fast

Lyres – Help You Ann

The guitar on this song hooked me…it has a tremolo effect that resembles The Smiths How Soon Is Now.

A band named DMZ broke up in 1979 and from that lead singer and organist Jeff “Monoman” Conolly formed Lyres in Boston. The original lineup of the band featured Conolly, Rick Coraccio (bass), Ricky Carmel (guitar), and Paul Murphy (drums). The nickname Monoman for Jeff Conolly came because of his love of monophonic recordings of the ’60s and in part because of his monomaniacal obsession with vintage rock & roll.

A four-song EP that came out in 1981 called AHS-1005. The EP won the group attention outside of Boston, and a single followed in 1983, “I Really Want You Right Now” with  the B side “Help You Ann.” Jeff Conolly wrote Help You Ann.

The band has released 8 studio and live albums and 3 EPs. The band is still together and playing.

The song was included on the On Fyre album released in 1984. From Wiki: Trouser Press called the album “simply the [garage-rock] genre’s apotheosis, an articulate explosion of colorful organ playing, surging guitars and precisely inexact singing. AllMusic gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

In 2018 Jeff Conolly announced that a new album by the Lyres was being recorded.

Help You Ann

There he go and he talk to you just like a fool
He’s got no use for you now and that’s why I feel the same way too

Well, he’s done putting you down and as cynical as he can be
He spending money on some things that you used to give to me for free

Sometimes I get so mad
And I wanna hurt you
But I did the best I can
And I wanna, I wanna help you, Ann

He’s so bad, he stole up all the money that you made
Yeah, he’s got a use for you now
An apartment on the choo choo train

Well, he’s no good for you Ann
When I kill him, I’ll snatch you one day
That’s right, I want you myself
Spend up all the money I could save

So I’m back here again
‘Cause I wanted you so
Said, I wanna be your man
And I wanna, I wanna help you, Ann

And I wanna help you, Ann
Said, I wanna help you, Ann
And I wanna help you, Ann
And I wanna, I wanna help you, Ann
Said I wanna, I wanna help you, Ann
Just as fast as I can
And I wanna help you, Ann
Just as fast as I can
And I wanna help you, Ann

And I wanna help
Said, I wanna help you, Ann
Just as fast as I can
And I wanna help you, Ann
And I wanna help
Said, I wanna help you, Ann
Just as fast as I can, right

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyres_(band)