Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TVD Label Spotlight | Frontier Records Vinyl Giveaway

Frontier Records is turning 30—and you guys get the gifts...

I've asked Lisa Fancher, Frontier's founder and our guest here all week, to pull three LPs from their weighty catalog—LPs entirely representative of Frontier's output and sensibilities—to offer as a giveaway this week. She came back to me with the three you see below.

We'll have two winners for all three LPs. They are:

"Adolescents is one of the better longplayers to come out of the early Southern California hardcore punk scene. With the legendary Rikk Agnew on guitar, the first album by this high-energy Orange County quintet (drawing some of its teenaged membership from Agent Orange and Social Distortion) has a crisp, metallic guitar sound and clear, comprehensible vocals." —Trouser Press

Q: In (the) book, American Hardcore, they hint that The Middle Class' record was possibly the first hardcore record ever. What do you think was the first hardcore punk record was?

Jello Biafra: Either The Middle Class or Sound of Imker Train of Doomsday single in the late '60s in Holland. The only true '60s hardcore record I know.

"One of the era's quintessential expressions of teen dislocation, it converts generation gap misunderstandings into a complete communications breakdown, encapsulating all the punk sociology of such films as Repo Man and Suburbia in four minutes." —Trouser Press

As always, we'll ask you to make your case as to why you should be sent this set of Frontier releases in the comments to this post. Make 'em good and it'd be smart to make them Frontier-related as well.

We'll choose our 2 winners for the 3 LPs this Friday (11/5) at noon. Remember to leave us a contact email address too so we can let you know you won, OK?

Adolescents - L.A. Girl (Mp3)
The Middle Class - Insurgence (Mp3)
Suicidal Tendencies - Memories Of Tomorrow (Mp3)
Approved for download!

TVD Label Spotlight | Frontier Records

Frontier Records founder Lisa Fancher is with TVD all week celebrating the label’s 3oth Anniversary which culminates this Sunday night (11/7) with a 30th Birthday Party at LA’s Echoplex.

In the meantime, ever wonder what it takes to get a label off the ground?

Fools Rush in Where Wise Men Never Go…
Some people start out in the mail room at William Morris, I got my big toehold in the "Biz" by doing inventory at a hippie record chain called Licorice Pizza, where they provided busted spring couches and gave away FREE red licorice so customers would hang out. Nightmare. I was failing Cal State Northridge fast because I had to go see bands play two sets at the Starwood, Whisky or Rox, therefore morning punctuality was a non-priority. When Greg Shaw called me up and asked if I wanted to work at the soon to be opened Bomp! store, I said yes knowing I was really never going to crack the books. And when I'm right, I'm right!

No thoroughly unqualified 18 year old could have asked for a better gig… I mean DESERVED! Even before the store opened, I bought "I'm Stranded," "New Rose" and "Anarchy in the UK" there (Greg was tight with Sex Pistols' artist Jamie Reid as well as Stiff's Dave Robinson. What was the only U.S. store with Stiff promo material, then?) as they had already stockpiled records and fanzines for the spring '77 opening. Rodney Bingenheimer spread the word and suddenly the Bomp! store was the place to shop. Devo, the Cramps and any other band that mattered personally dropped off their self-released 45s. People drove from all over the southland to shop here, including every member of every punk or wave band whether they'd formed yet or not, from Stan Lee (Dickies) to Chris D (Flesheaters) to Craig Lee (Bags). I collated my wildly unpopular fanzine, Biff! Bang! Pow! on the counter as if there were no customers, goodness knows I wasn't cramming for finals. (Paul Weller visited so I gave him a copy, later to find the back cover—a Xerox of my own Creation 45 on Planet—on the inner sleeve of ALL MOD CONS!)

I quit Bomp! to try (and fail) to "make it" in London in mid- '78 but upon returning Danny and I were hired by Michael "Jett" Compton to slave at the cursed and hated Licorice Pizza in North Hollywood. Steve Hufsteter (The Quick), writer Don Snowden, Cliff Roman (Weirdos) and Kid Congo (Cramps) soon joined the surly bunch. Hey, valley slobs with no taste—you want some attitude with that free licorice I restocked with my FEET? You got it! After a disastrous Licorice Pizza Christmas party we were fired en masse and I returned to Bomp! in the mailorder department. Sure, you would expect Wildman Fischer to talk into your record store, but mailorderers? Comic book times baseball card collector… I hold dear Jello Biafra in the greatest esteem for releasing Zolar X's TIMELESS but I knew my record wrapping skills would never make him happy.

I wrote LP reviews for the LA Times but was unable to curb my enthusiasm for milestones like the Ramones' debut album. AND WHY WOULD I??? Ken Tucker then gave me the chance to review live shows for the LA Herald Examiner, a fantastic way to get free records, get paid to go to punk shows I would have gone to anyway, and also shoot at clay pigeons like Styx. (Dear GLEE, There is nothing funny, cute or ironic about having kids sing Styx, Journey, REO Speedwagon songs that will ALWAYS SUCK. If you're humiliating them on purpose, then that is cool.) I still worked for Suzy in Bomp mailorder too. Greg unfathomably appointed me accountant for a while and—knowing I was certifiably Bobby Fuller touched in the head—gave me the plum assignment of going to El Paso to pick up all of Bobby's master tapes (contents mostly unknown) from his parents, Lorraine and Lawson, as well as meet and interview his former bandmates and tour manager, Rick Stone.

Though I was rather proud of being a college drop out, I still had a nagging feeling I needed to DO something, so I decided to release a record. I already knew the various steps and how much they would cost from being at Bomp!. I decided upon the Flyboys—I interviewed them for the Herald and knew they could use a benefactor.

Click to enlarge!

So, somewhere in 1979 I booked some time in Leon Russell's studio on Magnolia Ave where Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde) was the receptionist and Jim Mankey (Bearsville era Sparks) was the house engineer. I had Bomp!'s Mick Toohig design the Frontier logo and Diane Zincavage design the Flyboys EP package, which I insisted "must JUMP off the rack." Frontier Records and FLP 1001 began just like that—no trust fund, no partners, no business plan… don't have one yet.

You remember that Desperate Bicycles B-side that ends with "It was easy, it was cheap. Go out 'n' do it"? It's far from truthful but it's a hell of a slogan.

TVD Class of '72 | Nilsson "Son of Schmilsson"

We trust you, faithful TVD visitor, have seen that Jon is giving away some copies of a documentary about Harry Nilsson.

But you must comment on that post to be eligible to win. Don't know as much about Nilsson as you'd like? Relax. We've made the trip from the '70s to be your guide.

You may know Nilsson for these singles: "Everybody's Talkin'" (a Fred Neil cover; you know it from the "Midnight Cowboy" soundtrack) or for "Me and My Arrow," from "The Point," a 1971 animated film. You may know Nilsson for these 1972 singles: The smash "Without You" (a Badfinger cover) and the irreverent "Coconut." You may even know "Jump Into the Fire," which features Jim Gordon's thunderous 45-second drum solo.

We trust you have heard them all on the oldies stream.

The latter three tunes are off "Nilsson Schmilsson," a 1971 release full of sunny pop goodness. Because it is so well known, we bring something else from the '70s.

"Son of Schmilsson"was the follow-up LP, released in 1972. It is by turns charming, eccentric, rude and in questionable taste. It suggests a guy struggling to keep his balance as waves of fame crash over him.

One song starts: "You're breakin' my heart/You're tearin' it apart/So fuck you."

Another song starts, then ends abruptly when Nilsson belches, then careens into the next song.

Still another starts: "I'd rather be dead/I'd rather be dead/I'd rather be dead/Than wet my bed." Performed with a British senior citizens glee club which had to be in on the joke.

The record ends this way, set as if in the last scene of an elegant Disney cartoon: "Tell her she's beautiful/Roll the world over/And give her a kiss/And a feel."

That was the dark side of Harry Nilsson. Here is more of that sunny pop goodness.

Nilsson - Remember (Mp3)
Nilsson - Joy (Mp3)
Nilsson - Spaceman (Mp3)

"Son of Schmilsson" is out of print but is available digitally.

Harry Nilsson was so loved among his peers that a tribute CD released in 1995, a year after his death, counted 23 covers by an astonishing array of talent. Here are three.

Randy Newman - Remember (Mp3)

Joe Ely - Joy (Mp3)
The Roches - Spaceman (Mp3)
(with Mark Johnson on guitar and the Smithereens' Mike Mesaros on bass and Dennis Diken on drums)

"For The Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson" is out of print but also available digitally.