RADIO HELSINKI #11

08-15-17

RADIO HELSINKI #11

August 16 2017


Radio Helsinki Listener! I hope you’re ready for a great evening of listening. I thought we would do something somewhat conceptual at the top of the show. I’m making reference to the first seven songs. All of the tracks were released by one label: SST Records. SST is perhaps best known for releasing albums by Black Flag. The label was owned by two of the band’s members, Greg Ginn and Chuck Dukowski. For the first half of the 1980’s, SST had one of the best rosters in American Independent music. Beside the bands we’re playing at the top of the show, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and Soundgarden all released records on SST. The label lost some of those bands and their catalogs over the years. You might have to consult a lot of lawyers as to the exact reasons why. It’s safe to say that things didn’t always end on the best of terms with bands and SST. One of the greatest records SST released was by the band who starts our show, the Stains. I got to see them play a few times and they were never anything less than amazing and scary. The line up that’s on the album were cool guys but some of the members could get a little crazy and some of their friends were extremely intense. I think it was the first time I saw them, in 1981, during the show, the singer pulls out a large can of beer out of his trench coat pocket, holds it up and asks the audience, “Anyone want a beer?” Of course, a sea of arms starts waving. The singer, throws the can downward and hard. There is no way it’s not going to hit someone. I cannot say for sure exactly who was hit or where but the can seemed to bounce off someone and disappear. I had never seen anything like that happen from the stage. A few males at the front started moving towards the stage to get at the singer. That’s when one of the Stains crew casually walks from the side of the stage, towards the front and displays part of the large kitchen knife he has in his waistband. The men in the audience backed away. In 1984, Black Flag took the Meat Puppets out on tour as the opener. Not only did they have a ton of their own songs, they had what seemed to be an inexhaustible supply of cover songs. No matter how many times you watched them play, they were often able to pull out a song that completely took you by surprise. One night they did a bunch of Black Flag songs. The next night, some Michael Jackson, or Elvis Presley. My favorite moment of Meat Puppets covering a song was when I saw them play in San Diego, California in 1985 I think it was. They played Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix, from the Axis: Bold As Love album. I don’t know how often they played it but I can only remember seeing them play it that one time. Incredible. Not to brag but what the hell, I was lucky to see Hüsker Dü a number of times. Talk about a band you wouldn’t want to go on after (which I had to do more than once) they were one of the best live bands I have ever seen. Almost all the songs in our first block are available but for some reason, the Stains album remains out of print. I don’t know what’s up with that but whatever the problem is, someone should fix it. It’s one of the most hectic records ever made. It’s a classic waiting to be! I take very good care of my test pressing. Okay, now I’m bragging.

I’m in my office, listening to all the songs that we’re playing on this show. The band Tilt, is a side project of Trouble Funk, the mighty Go-Go Funk band from Washington DC. One of the greatest bands to ever come out of the DC area. I have been listening to them since around 1981 when I first heard them on the radio. I would recommend any of the early Trouble 12”‘s and their must-hear Straight Up Go Go Live 2LP set. It’s as good as music gets. I would like to know how many times I’ve played that one.

I have no idea how much you drill down into the music or these notes but you might have noticed that we are playing a lot of singles on this show. The 7” is my favorite mode of music delivery. Many of them become obscure almost as quickly as they’re released and often the band becomes lost in the mists of time. It’s one of the first things that grabbed me about record collecting. One of the songs we have on the show, track #28 by the Skunks, has a pretty cool story. None other than Pete Townsend saw them play, signed them to his Eel Pie label and put out the record in a run of 2000. It’s not all that hard to find but think of how easy it would have been for you to have lived your entire life without hearing this song and how better off you will be after you hear it.

One of the things I find most fascinating about records, beyond how great the music can be, is how the actual record can become almost an extension of yourself. After you have moved a bunch of times and the years pile on, and you have somehow been able to hold onto a few of these records, it shows you that not only does the music have meaning in your life but the actual object is cool as well. Track #29, They’re Back Again, Here They Come, by the Cigarettes, is such a great song. Ian MacKaye and I were at the record store one day and Ian got the record, I think because the cover looked cool. This song ended up on so many of my Punk Rock mix tapes. Years later, while trying to learn more about the record and the band, I found out there were two pressings, the first had a red label with silver lettering and the other was black with silver lettering. Ian and I both had the second pressing. It took a couple of years but I eventually found a first pressing. Why? It’s not like I needed it, I just thought it was cool to be able to check out both of them. About fifteen years ago, a 2LP set of Cigarettes music came out. I have never seen much information about this band, which makes them all the more interesting to me.

Rarely is a thing just a thing. It’s usually a lot of things. That’s one of the reasons I am always looking around for records, because there’s always something more to know. Also, it’s just good now and then, to shut up and let the music do the talking! I hope you enjoy all these tunes. The last show is next week. It went fast!  –– Henry

Twitter: @henryrollins
Instagram: HenryandHeidi


Our Program

01. The Stains - Sick And Crazy / The Stains
02. The Minutemen - Joe McCarthy’s Ghost / Paranoid Time EP
03. Saccharine Trust - We Don’t Need Freedom / Pagan Icons
04. Würm - I’m Dead / single
05. The Meat Puppets - Up On The Sun / Up on the Sun
06. Hüsker Dü - Makes No Sense At All / single
07. Saint Vitus - Look Behind You / The Blasting Concept (SST Records comp.)
08. The New York Dolls - Subway Train / New York Dolls
09. The Mad – Hell / We Love Noize
10. Einstürzende Neubauten - Sehnsucht (Zitternd) / Halber Mensch
11. The Simpletones – California / I Have a Date
12. Eddie and the Subtitles - American Society (single version) / single
13. The Bad Brains - Fearless Vampire Killers / Bad Brains
14. Squatweiler - Hot For Teacher / promo CD
15. Bo Diddley - Say Man / Best Of
16. Tilt - Arkade Funk / 12”
17. Tex Rubinowitz - Rock & Roll Ivy / It’s Rare Doo Wop Vol. 6
18. The Cramps - Teenage Werewolf (Hot House Studios, NYC Feb. 1979) / All Tore Up
19. Roky Erickson - The Interpreter / Gremlins Have Pictures
20. The Rondelles - Please Shut Up / The Fox
21. Dog Chocolate - Plastic Canoe / Snack Fans
22. Dad Jokes - Party Goblin / Hopeless Vacation
23. R.I.P. Chix - Tempura Nights / Rice Is Nice Vol. 2 Mix Tape
24. Laurels - Changing The Timeline / Plains
25. Holland – Stampstain / Your Orgasm
26. Spittin’ Teeth – Destruction / tape
27. The Middle Class – Situations / Out Of Vogue EP
28. The Skunks - Good From the Bad / single
29. The Cigarettes - They’re Back Again, Here They Come / Will Damage Your Health
30. Public Image Ltd. - Swan Lake (Monitor Mix) / Metal Box (2016 re-issue)

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