Camper Van Beethoven was a band from Santa Cruz that gained a lot of alternative buzz in the mid to late ‘80s as they first attracted attention with the curious titled Take The Skinheads Bowling in 1985. Camper Van Beethoven was not the only band to incorporate violin into a rock song but combined with David Lowery's raspy vocals and quirky lyrics made for a recipe that got the band signed to a major record deal with Virgin Records.
By 1988, Camper Van Beethoven was a sweetheart of college radio and made their debut for Virgin with the album Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart that featured the unique songs like the opener Eye of Fatima.
The Eye of Fatima is the popular Middle Eastern design that has a picture of an eye in the palm of a hand. Known in different religions under different names, the Eye of Fatima is Islam's name to honor Muhammad's daughter Fatima. The symbol has been used by secret societies and as a good luck charm to protect against the "evil eye." In Camper Beethoven's song, it is somehow about giving cowboys acid in motel rooms and staying up all night. …Full Story
Happy birthday to Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys, who turns 60 years old today. Sixty! You can wish him a happy birthday here.
It's been 30 years since the Pet Shop Boys first made their mark on pop music with their first hit West End Girls. Since then, they've sold 50 million records -- my faves are Surburbia, It's a Sin and Always on My Mind -- and are recognized as the UK's most successful music duo. If you're looking for the perfect medley of Neil's work, watch this performance by Neil and music partner Chris Lowe at the 2009 Brit Awards, where they received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Full Story
One of the underrated facets of ‘80s music is the depth of acts during our favorite decade. For every Journey, there were hundreds of bands that put out fine efforts only to be one-and-done by their record labels thus being regulated to only a footnote in the archives. To find these bands, sometimes you have to go down in the trenches.
The Broadcasters were a New York band that released their debut album 13 Ghosts in 1988. The single Down In The Trenches got a quick whiff on the Mainstream Rock Charts peaking at No. 48. While I listened to 13 Ghosts on cassette too many times to count while traveling down the highway, overall sales were few and when the band lost the rights to their band name things started to unfold and they never released another album. Full Story
"Josie's on a vacation far away. Come around and talk it over." Who doesn't know the opening lines of The Outfield's Your Love. It's sad to report today that the man who wrote the song, John Spinks, has died at age 60.
Billboard.com reports that Mr. Spinks, who wrote the songs and served as The Outfield's guitarist, died Wednesday night after a long battle with liver cancer. The band announced the news on its Facebook page:
"It is with great sadness to inform you that John passed away at 09.55 on Wednesday 9th July 2014. He was 60 years old. As many of you know, he had been suffering from liver cancer for many years and bravely fought the disease until the very end. We are relieved that his passing was peaceful and painless. ... We would like to thank you for 'your love' and the continued support you have given John throughout his career. He loved making music and playing his guitar. He found pleasure knowing that his music made people happy and bought them fond memories."
"There is so much more we could say, but for now, we would like to grieve the loss of John. God bless you all. - Jean, Lee and Paul xxx" Full Story
Ah, Jennifer Grey. You loved her Ferris Bueller, Red Dawn and Dirty Dancing. But will you still love her in a new TV show set in the '80s being developed by Steven Soderbergh? Yeah, most likely.
Hitflix.com reports that Grey will join Paul Reiser, Craig Roberts, Richard Kind and Oliver Cooper for a pilot of a new series on Amazon to be called Red Oaks. Set in 1985, it follows a high school graduate who gets a job at a country club for the summer before heading to college. There the teen runs into a crazy collection of coworkers and wealthy club members.
So basically Caddyshack? Okay, we're still interested. Especially if they throw in a Kenny Loggins song and a dancing gopher. No word yet on a release date.Full Story
On Lost and Found, we would never profile a band that you didn't want to hear. Today we offer no white elephant gift with the band Volcano Suns.
For the third straight day, we comb the Boston music scene and unearth Volcano Sun. The Mission of Burma was an influential post-punk band and in 1984 their drummer Peter Prescott left to form Volcano Suns and they released five albums during the ‘80s. In 1986, Volcano Suns released the video for White Elephant, which captures the humor of the band with the chorus detailing the items that the Volcano Suns have in their possession: a white elephant, a red wagon and a blue hula hoop.
It is believed that the term White Elephant has been around for hundreds of years as the origins of the phrase began when the King of Siam gave albino elephants as a "gift" to a subject who displeased him in hopes that the upkeep of the elephants would be more trouble and expense than they were worth. Today White Elephant gift exchanges are commonplace at fun Christmas parties all around the globe. Full Story
Former Journey frontman Steve Perry has completed his comeback to the stage, much to the delight of fans who try to anticipate his "spontaneous" appearances in concert with Eels. Just one thing's missing: the reaction of Journey itself. But now former writing pal and current Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain has gone on the record.
"He deserves to be out there on stage. I think it’s wonderful," Cain said in an interview picked up by Ultimateclassicrock.com. "I could never understand why he seemed to be in recluse mode, hiding away somewhere. When you’re Steve Perry, one of the greatest voices of all time, you should be on a stage where you belong. So, good for him. I’m happy he’s out there flexing his chops."
Cain went on to say it's Perry's absence that is keeping Journey from recording any more new music, saying guitarist Neal Schon is "resistant" to returning to the band's classic sound.
"Perry had that pop sensibility. I followed his lead, he followed mine — and Neal added the rock edge to it," Cain said. "With Perry missing from the mix, do you ever get back to it? I don’t know."Full Story
"Gozer the Coca-Cola? Good evening. As a duly designated representative of the City, County and State of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient 7-Eleven."Full Story
Peter Murphy is a god to goth fans of the '80s. The former Bauhaus frontman, though, has continued to be prolific in making music long after our decade was done. But one of the first reviews of his 2014 tour is just BRUTAL. I mean, I wanted to cry by the time I finished it.
LA Weekly reviewed his July 5 show at the El Rey, and you could tell the writer sincerely wanted to love the show, but just couldn't. For starters, Murphy pretty much ignored his hits, but that wasn't the worst of it.
"The depressing part was watching the decline of a rock star happen right there on stage, inside a not-too-big venue with a not-so-packed crowd of former goth kids," reviewer Liz Ohanesian wrote."
The final line just breaks my heart: "There are shows so upsetting that they sit heavy with you well after they end. This was one of those times." Click here to read the full report, if you dare.
[Click here to see Murphy's tour dates, which includes an Aug. 6 show at Tampa's Orpheum and two other Florida dates.]Full Story
We stay Boston Strong with Treat Her Right and I Think She Likes Me.
Treat Her Right released their debut album in 1986 and even though the band never became huge, by 1988 I Think She Likes Me did make it on rock radio as it hit No. 15 on the Mainstream Rock Charts. With haunting harmonica, cocktail bar drumming and a swampy guitar sound, Treat Her Right released several well received albums from 1988 to 1991; including my favorite Tied To The Tracks in 1989 before deep voiced front man Mark Sandman would leave to start his band Morphine. Sandman died from a heart attack on stage in 1999.Full Story
If Prince and David Bowie are still on your concert bucket list, then this performance of Prince playing Bowie's '80s hit Let's Dance over the July 4 holiday might be as close as you'll ever get. Full Story
Last week we did roll call on some of the biggest names in ‘80s music, so to balance out the fulcrum, this week on Lost and Found we go in the trenches for artists that would seem more in place with Dr. Dim's Never Found companion series.
Whether you spend hours looking at cat videos on the internet or just pay homage to the ‘80s by naming your pet Cat Benatar, felines continue to rule the web and so let's ride the wave by profiling Scruffy the Cat and My Baby She's All Right. Scruffy the Cat was a cowpunk band that was popular on the Boston scene, but never sniffed the charts. The band was fronted by Charlie Chesterman, who died of cancer in 2013. My Baby, She's All Right is from 1987 that got some MTV airplay.
The video features some animation and this upload was taken from MTV's Liquid Television program that ran in the late ‘80s as evidenced by the end of the video that shows a few seconds of the animation short "Stevie & Zoya" featuring secret agent Stevie Washington, the Angry Youth. Can you recognize the voice of the narrator of "Stevie & Zoya"? It is Russell Johnson, the Professor from "Gilligan's Island" that passed away this year.Full Story
In 2006, VH1 proclaimed Livin' On A Prayer was the greatest song of the ‘80s, and while that was a great honor, the award it may deserve is Most Overplayed Song of the ‘80s. The next time you are in the mood for Bon Jovi, instead of listening to their biggest hits for the thousandth time, take a detour and play the mostly-forgotten She Don't Know Me.
As huge as Bon Jovi was in the 80's and today, it's hard to remember a time when Bon Jovi flew under the radar, but in 1984 they released their debut album and after scraping the Top 40 with Runaway, the boys from New Jersey released She Don't Know Me that only made it to No. 48 on the charts. …Full Story
Sometimes I groan when I hear the radio play Jack and Diane for the millionth time and secretly wish for programmers to mix it up and let it all hang out when it comes to playing John Mellencamp songs.
With smashes like Hurts So Good and Pink Houses there is no shortage of John Mellencamp hits to choose from, but very rarely heard is Let It All Hang Out from 1989's Big Daddy LP. Big Daddy was the last album of Mellencamp's to be listed as John Cougar Mellencamp and while it had only one Top 40 hit with Pop Singer, it does contain other somewhat familiar songs like Jackie Brown, Martha Say and of course, Let It All Hang Out.
While Let It All Hang Out did not chart, the video is sexy fun as model Ashley Richardson Montana (six appearances in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue including the cover in 1991) is hypnotizing while her hillbilly dance mate is equally curious, but not in a good way. The song is a remake as the original version reached Np. 12 on the charts in 1967 by The Hombres. …Full Story
Is it possible that Bill Murray is doing his best movie work to date these days? Hell, that's impossible to judge, but think about it again after watching this trailer for his new movie St. Vincent.
St. Vincent is due in theaters on Oct. 24, 2014.Full Story