Saturday, April 15, 2006

April 15, 2006 - A Look Back to March 20, 2006 A bit of Todd Rundgren and The (New) Cars

Welcome back to Chriswasanon. Dr Who. Dr Who...Dr. Who hooo the Tardis, Dr. Who. What a great song that was but and what a great post we have here for you. We have ze New York Dollski and the Rock 'n' Roll hall of ass flame fame. A fab Les Paul guitar with a man speeding away. Steve Jones is Bert Weedon on amphetamines. The TrAnScRiBer has knocked out some more of the Interland's favourite radio show. It's Jonesy's Jukebox innit! So without any more of this or much of that lets get right to rolling this Easter Egg down the hill.


Tina IS at the controls.

The New Cars with Todd Rundgren March 20, 2006

Steve: I’ve got to ask you, I know we’re talking about The New Cars, but I’ve got to ask you cos I’m a huge fan of that first Dolls album. What was that like, working on that?

Todd: Um, it was a sort of controlled chaos. Um, the band, you know, had something of a work ethic, I suppose, particularly David Jo, he was trying to keep, you know, trying to be the ringmaster of everything and they envisioned themselves as like the Rolling Stones. They liked to dress up in drag, you know and like…and Johnny Thunders liked to whip his hair up like Keith Moon (sic) used to do and flail at his guitar in that halfassed manner that Keith still does and um, it was such a, you know, it was like there was the band, that was five guys and then there were like the twenty or thirty people a night who were just like there to…

Steve: Hanging out.

Todd: …observe the spectacle. A lot of rock critics and a lot of groupies of various kinds and other sorts of liggers and hangers-on. And, yeah, it was all about trying to get enough focus just to put a take down, you know, let’s get a take down somehow. And, yeah it was ironic that you know, when it came to the mixing part of it, they just got in too much of a hurry. I think we could have had a better-sounding record in the end. But they just got into, “We’ve got a gig in Long Island, hurry up and mix it.” And that was one of my, well, it wasn’t my earliest production, but it was one in which I went back on one of my golden rules which is: You don’t allow the band in the room while you’re mixing. Because, particularly if it their first album, cos the drummer only hears the drums and the guitar player only hears the guitar and the bass player…all these things and before you know it, all the faders are pinned up at the top of the board and you just can’t get anything any louder. People usually like it better when they come in and hear it all kind of close and then make some adjustments.

Steve: Was your head space a professional head space at that time or was you kind of crazy as well at the time?

Todd: Oh, no…I’m pretty much of a disciplinarian in the studio. I also had the benefit of Jack Douglas was there, helping with the engineering and stuff. And you know, the band wasn’t, despite their surly attitude wasn’t really that hard to work with. You know, it’s just as I said, like, an old Mafioso neighbor of theirs was their manager and he really didn’t know anything about managing a band and uh, and they didn’t know anything about being managed, either and point of fact, they hardly made it past their second album before they just blew up.

Steve: Right. Did they approach you to do their second album?

Todd: Uh, no I don’t believe so. No, I think they had it in their mind that they wanted uh, uh…what’s his name? Was it Richard Gotterer?

Steve: That old fifities guy, right?

Elliot Easton: Oh, Gotterer? Gotterer maybe?

Todd: I think that was, I think that was him.

Elliot: Mr. I Want Candy?

Todd: Yes, I believe. They wanted the guy who originally did the, who was it, The Shangri-Las.

Steve: Right, right.

Elliot: Oh, Shadow Morton.

Todd: Shadow Morton. That was it. Shadow Morton. And they said that he spent most of his time asleep on the console.

Steve: It sounded like it.

Elliot: So you guys had something in common, Steve. You guys have Malcolm McLaren in common because didn’t he put the Dolls in red patent leather with a communist flag behind them and bring them over to England.

Steve: Yeah, and then they got rid of him.

Elliot: And that was the end of the band, basically.

Steve: Yeah, I think so. The other thing that was in common, we had the same guitar. A white Les Paul that Sylvain, I think, had. McLaren brought that back and I used that for all through the Pistols. But I…dunno if it was a pain in the ass to do that album, but I love that album. I think that’s a brilliant album. I think you did a great job.

Todd: It wasn’t so much a pain, it just was…a circus in a sense, you know. I’m not used to have that much attending personnel when you’re trying to make a record and, you know, it was very distracting for the band. But…they were all about the scene…they were just making music in the midst of the whole scene that they were creating.

Steve: Yeah. Well, I used to do speed and play along to that album for hours and hours (general laughter) trying to learn how to play guitar.

Todd: Get your chops together.

Steve: Yeah, that’s it. I’d been literally playing three months before the Pistols did our first gig and that was one of the albums and one of The Stooges albums…

Todd: It probably didn’t take you very long to get better than Johnny Thunders.

Steve: Well…yeah, yeah. He had a vibe though, Thunders. You know what I mean?

Todd: Well, that’s the thing. He was all vibe, you know. He was totally all vibe. You could say that he didn’t necessarily play the same solo twice because sometimes he couldn’t even find the same place on the neck two times in a row, you know. Yeah, he was the one most likely to be at the nether edges of inebriation during the process.

Steve: But he had a good rock and roll spirit.

Elliot: Yeah, he did. I saw him at The Speakeasy when we were making our first album, which we made in London at our studios and I think he had Jerry Nolan playing drums and some of those guys. Did you go, Greg, to The Speakeasy that night…it was Johnny Thunders.

Todd: The Speak? Goin’ down to The Speak?

Steve: In London.

Greg Hawkes: Yeah, I think I did.

Steve: Yeah, I used to play with him down there.

Elliot: It was great. Well this would be like, late ’77.

Steve: Yeah.

Elliot: And uh, you know, he did like, “Pipeline”, he did some like, really cool stuff and it sounded good.

Steve: You never got paid. He’d just run off with all the money and go and cop.

Elliot: It was rough, but like you say, it had a great vibe to it.

Todd: Ah, the good old days. Well, that is the essence of rock and roll. One guy screwing everybody else and running off with the money.

Elliot: And then proceeding to die.

Todd: And then the rest of them die. And that’s rock and roll.


Later in the interview they discuss the Pistols’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and their refusal to participate in the ceremony.

Todd: I’m glad you guys set the precedent. I was hoping somebody would do it before I ever got nominated. But that’s never going to happen anyway. But people keep saying, “Oh, please let us campaign for you.” You know, “Let us get you in the Hall of Fame.” Pulleeze, you know.

Steve: Do you think that more people would do that, now that we’ve done that?

Todd: I hope so.

Steve: Yeah. So you’re not that fond of it, either.

Todd: Well, I mean it’s…if you’ve ever been there it’s more like the Mall of Fame, you know. It’s just all slick. You know…you go to the House Of Blues, it’s more like rock and roll than going to the actual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So, you know, if was a real Rock Hall of Fame it would be some old, bombed-out warehouse somewhere…it would be unsafe…and yeah. I’ve never been into the concept of trying to take music that’s supposed to be extemporaneous and uh, and really sort of anti-establishment in a way and then making an establishment for it. In that sense it takes some of the fun out.

Steve: I wouldn’t mind it if they gave you like, medical or something. (general laughter) You know what I mean? Some insurance or something.

Todd: A retirement plan would be great, a pension.

Steve: I wanted to get my statue and sell it on ebay and see how much money I could get for it. But we’ve all decided just not even to accept them, just let them do what they will with them. Burn them at the fire…

Elliot: It’s funny to be embraced by an industry who dropped you, one after another…

Steve: I dunno. When I first heard about it and few months ago, I thought, “Oh, great. We’re being acknowledged for something.” And then after speaking to John and a few other people about it when I delved into it more, I realized how it is nonsense.

Todd: Well, it is sort of nonsense when you see Lou Reed acting publicly hurt because Jefferson Airplane got in before he did or something like that and you think…you always thought like, he would have been above that and look at how it just like, suckers people in, in a way.

Steve: You see…you find out, I guess, your true colors, in a way.

Todd: I suppose.

Steve: You know what I mean? I know we get older and we’re meant to be more, you know, what’s the word…have a bit more dignity or whatever, but I think the dignifying thing to do is to not be, not care about it.

Elliot: What I love is the bands where, you know, one member won’t play with the others and all this kind of stuff…

Steve: Oh, to hell with them. (all laugh)

Joint Easter Bunny production Floratina and Chriswasanon co-operative.

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