Creating filtered version of banner image.

Blog

THE MANY HATS OF MILITIA

 

 

Walking to the yearly Indian Larry Grease Monkey block party to see heavy metal band Judas Priestess, I heard the band’s lead vocalist MilitiA, three blocks away, above the Williamsburg din of cars and horns and trains I hear over here all the time. There’s nothing like the power of a good female vocalist!


And there’s nothing like a woman who wears many hats. Listen to this: she writes, she sings, she performs solo, she heads another hard rock band, Swear On Your Life, as well as her Judas Priestess band (the all-girl tribute band to Judas Priest). MilitiA VJs, hosts shows and has been all over music TV stations like FUSE, MTV2 and VH1. She’s collaborated with everyone from Dee Snider to Cyndi Lauper, Sandra Bernhard and even Nancy Sinatra. She’s appeared in TV shows and film as well.


If I told you that on top of all that she models you’d probably say, C’mon, get outta here! Where does she find the time for all this stuff? But it’s true. MilitiA has modeled for several clothing lines and calendars. In fact, this is a woman so totally in control of her career and the scope of it, that I wouldn’t be surprised if the next career goal she plans to conquer hasn’t already happened at the time of this writing. Just sayin’.

DRUMS BY STEFANIE EULINBERG

 

Image

Stefanie Eulinberg. Drummer and vocalist. Been with Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker band for over 10 years now. One of the hardest working drummers in the business today. She’s played cruise ships, lounge circuits, bars, prisons, everywhere she could. Hailing from Berea, Ohio (a western suburb of Cleveland), Eulinberg also plays bass, guitar, writes jingles and does soundtracks, something she went to school for when she lived in L.A. Sometimes you might find her “on loan” to other artists, like the time Melissa Etheridge hired her for a tour. By the last day of that tour, she jokingly said, she had everyone in that band “drinking beer and wearing slippers.” Nothing like drinking beer with a girl who knows how to rock is what I say.

WHERE’S PHIL LYNOTT’S PROPS?

 

Image

Seems like people have forgot about Phil Lynott. He headed the group Thin Lizzy, the band known for its dual lead guitars. If you’re not familiar with the band, you can hear elements of them in some of Bruce Springsteen’s earlier work. Thin Lizzy had hits with “The Boys Are Back in Town,” “Jailbreak” and “Don’t Believe A Word,” to name a few.


Phil Lynott, who hailed from Ireland, was a black man, with an Irish mother and a father from Guyana. He was a black Irishman, and he accepted who he was, even while friends said he might have been the only black man in the entire country at the time. On top of that, Lynott was completely rock ‘n’ roll, with the leather, chains, big afro, and all that.


Considering the work he and his band put out here, it’s been a mystery to me why he never seemed to get the attention he deserved while he was alive. (He died in 1986 from pneumonia and heart failure.) Lynott and the band were in the news recently, when it was reported that Lynott’s mother, said that her son would not be pleased that the Republicans were using her son’s “The Boys Are Back in Town” song at their convention. She said he would’ve disagreed with their position on gay marriage and taxes.


For more on Phil Lynott and his work, go to http://www.philiplynottexhibition.com and learn about the man considered to be Dublin’s ultimate rock star.

DID IKE TURNER ONLY BEAT UP TINA?

 

Image

Yeah, that’s the title. ‘Cause while we appropriately condemned him for the widely disseminated accounts of abuse he bombarded on the great Tina Turner, we have forgotten his real place in rock ‘n’ roll history.


Ike Turner was a key figure in rock ‘n’ roll in the early 1950s. He was a performer, a businessman with his own band, the Kings of Rhythm, and a talent scout, for RPM/Modern Records, as well as the legendary Sam Phillips. He recorded everyone from Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Johnny Ace, Otis Rush and Bobby “Blue” Bland during this period. Before that he was a DJ for WROX radio in Clarksdale, Mississippi.


But his real importance lies in his recording in 1951 of what Sam Phillips christened “the first rock ‘n’ roll record”: “Rocket 88.” In production from 1949 to 1960, Oldsmobile’s Rocket 88 really ushered in the muscle car era. It had a V8, 303 cubic inch engine with 135 horses, which was powerful for its time in the consumer market. The body was designed to mimic the space age, which was happening at the time. Turner did “Rocket 88” with his Kings of Rhythm, but the cut was credited to Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats. Brenston, a saxophonist who came up with the song, did the vocals. After it was done in his Sun studio, Phillips leased the cut to Chess Records, and the rest is history.


Then Ike Turner met Tina.

TALKING WITH DAVE BARTHOLOMEW

 
Bartholomewdomino

Fats Domino (L) and Dave Bartholomew, Courtesy of Franck-Bertacci Collection The Historic New Orleans Collection

Woke up this morning thinking about Dave Bartholomew for some reason. Dave Bartholomew: a legendary historic figure in rock n roll production, known for his work with Fats Domino, Shirley and Lee, Lloyd Price and others, it was THAT guy who asked me to come and perform as a guitarist at his club, on a permanent basis, and I couldn't go! One of the things you want to avoid in this thing called life, is the phrase, "what if," or "I should've." Frankly, I think that he was so ecstatic over the fact that a black dude was interviewing him over his career, that he offered me the gig. He told me, "You're the first black guy that asked me about my career. All the other cats have been white."

I interviewed Bartholomew in 1998, and my friend, the late pioneer rock journalist Al Aronowitz, published it on his website The Blacklisted Journalist in 1999.


[Parts of this interview were scheduled for Vibe Magazine, while other parts appeared in variation in the New York Beacon, in Steven Stancell's Alternative Discs column. Stancell authored the first biographical encyclopedia on rap music in 1996, Rap Whoz Who, which received a Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award nomination. Stancell's earlier literary pieces have appeared on WBAI-FM's Radio Unnameable with Bob Fass, and his play, Neighborhood Disrupted, was produced by the American Theater of Actors in 1984. He is also a multi-genre musician and record producer, responsible for artist Shaman's 1985 single, This Is Not A Jungle, This Is A Zoo, which he co-produced with recording artist Strafe, of Set It Off fame.]

 

Talk about stupid—and I once heard the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards say the same thing. And what is that? The fact that age shouldn't really mean a thing when it comes to a rock & roll artist. Folks were pissing him off with questions centering on, "How do you answer critics who say that you're a little too old to be rocking and rolling?" This, Richards would answer with a claim that these questions were, in fact, racist. Nobody ever asks John Lee Hooker or B.B. King these questions, he'd say. Hallelujah!

So I second that and say, what about producing? Age shouldn't have anything to do with that either! Especially when it comes to a legend, as in Dave Bartholomew. Here's a guy that co-wrote and produced some of the greatest rock & roll records of all time, by the great Fats Domino: Ain't That A Shame, I'm Walkin', Blueberry Hill and others. He did Shirley and Lee's Let the Good Times Roll, Lloyd Price's Lawdy Miss Clawdy and a whole lot more.

It's 1998, and guess what? He's still making records at age 77. Hallelujah!

Bartholomew told me, "I been in the business since December 1949. The first day me and Fats went into Imperial Records (where he was house producer) we cut a two-million seller, called The Fat Man. The things we did many years ago are still prevalent today. I go all over the country and hear our music played by all these different groups. Been all over Europe for the last 40 years. You know, we (him and Fats) been in the business for a long time, although Fats is semi-retired now."

Yeah, but Bartholomew ain't. When I heard his latest work, this New Orleans Big Beat CD, the vibrancy and musicianship comes through that range of music genres he presents to us there, and with the same proficiency as always.

"I'm now coming up in the rap world," Bartholomew declared, "and I don't fool with the computer at all. So technically, I'm an unknown. Older people'll say, 'Yeah, his records are good,' but they don't buy no goddamn records!

"What I'm trying to say is this: you can have a hit record out now, and it can last for three or four months, and after that they want another one. They're always like, Okay, what else you got? But me and Fats haven't recorded in the last 25 or 30 years. We went our separate ways about 12, 15 years ago."

I asked him about those history making days he was recording, where every record he did with Fats from the 1950s to 1963 were big, big hits (they sold 800 million records to date!). "I was discovered in Houston, Texas, by the late Lew Chudd (owner of Imperial Records). I worked there in Texas for Don Robey (black record mogul, owner of the mostly gospel Peacock Records label, which released the original Hound Dog by Big Mama Thornton. I was working at Robey's club, not his record company."

Bartholomew said that in the technical sense, "we didn't actually write songs, Fats and I. The tunes we came up with, we got those together by sitting around jamming and doing little things like that. We didn't do like some guys. We got together with an idea, and put it together like that. Ninety percent of them were done like that.

"I always worked for the record companies, so I didn't own Imperial Records, and Fats and I didn't own any of the publishing. But we were blessed that EMI bought the catalogue. Lew Chudd always paid me a salary. He would hold back on the zeroes though, but I worked for Lew and he gave me a break. I think I should've been cut in more than I was. He paid me decent, but I started with him."

Now if you're an aspiring recording artist reading that, and you go "aww" with a tinge of disappointment, and think that that's how it was in those days, think again! The same thing goes on today. Record label heads always consider that they're giving you, the artist, a break when they sign you to a deal. Call it serfs and feudal lords if you must.

sites